City News

After a brief hiatus, the Sedona Mayor’s Arts Awards returned this year and by all accounts was a big success.

The June 29 event at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre drew more than 100 people as they honored local artists for the work they’ve done and the contributions they’ve made over the years.

“What an incredibly special night for our amazing arts community,” Sedona Arts and Culture Coordinator Nancy Lattanzi said. “After months of planning, I had been truly looking forward to this evening. To stand at the podium and see the room filled with so many talented artists and art supporters was truly uplifting and confirming.”

This year’s award recipients and what was said of each included:


Joe McNeill.  “Joe is a lifelong artist and movie buff and has been in the magazine business for over 40 years. Today we are here to honor Joe for his dedicated work to preserve the history of Sedona’s role in the film industry. Joe coined the phrase ‘Arizona’s Little Hollywood,’ which became the title of his 678-page hardcover book in 2010. It reveals neverbefore-heard facts about films made in Sedona.”

Business or Organization

Red Rock Arts Council. “The Red Rock Arts Council has, for over 25 years, been furthering the recognition of Sedona as an arts community and destination, creating patronage for local sculptors, contributing to a sense of art appreciation by residents, and contributing directly to a body of public art in the community.”


Dennis Ott. “In the rich world of Sedona’s art and artists, Dennis Ott stands out as its leading arts educator and a perennial champion of the creative process and the sharing of his craft with everyone he meets. His skill with people and his understanding of the transformative power of the arts is a hallmark of Dennis’ work and ongoing advocacy. Much of Dennis’ work is based at the Sedona Creative Arts Center, but he is known as the go-to person for consultation on any arts event, education and outreach ideas, as well as creative support and volunteer work. As a teacher, dozens of Verde Valley potters have developed their own studios and careers under his guidance.”

Lifetime Achievement

Peggy Lanning. “Peggy Lanning has spent the last 35 years in a leadership role as Sedona defined itself as a first-class arts destination city. Her two art galleries are thriving — in 2016 Turquoise Tortoise Gallery, with Native American and Southwest art, marked its 45th anniversary, and Lanning Gallery, with classic and contemporary art, marked its 30th anniversary. Both galleries, always located in Hozho, have been the anchors of Sedona’s Gallery District. In 2005 she co-founded the Sedona Gallery Association — today a thriving, unifying force that sees Sedona’s top galleries supporting each other and working together to promote the arts within and far beyond Sedona itself. The Sedona Gallery Association’s ‘First Friday, Evening in the Galleries’ is a monthly highlight for residents and visitors alike.”

In regard to the winners, Lattanzi added, “I congratulate each of our very deserving recipients for their passion in going beyond the call while helping to animate the arts in our city."


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