I see a troubling trend these days. I see our politicians cutting funding to vital communal lifelines such as public broadcasting and the arts. Schools are sending teachers pink slips and the world is upside down. As banks and corporations get bailout after bailout, it's inevitably up to us to bail ourselves out. It’s up to us (you and me) to support, create and build our communities – one by one, brick by brick.

 

Last week I wrote a piece for The Scene’s “High Art” and the Sedona Events Alliance about the importance of art as a building block of our society and future generations to come. It was Oscar Wilde who stated, “The self-conscious aim of life is to find expression, and art offers it certain beautiful forms through which it may realize that energy.” Life imitates art, and art imitates life.

 

It’s true; the arts provide a foundation for communities to grow. But it’s not the group that is so vital – it’s the individuals that truly make a difference. Each friend, family member and aficionado supporting the arts is the mortar that holds firm the foundation of our society. You don’t have to be an artist, musician or writer to appreciate, share or be involved in the arts. Art flows through each and every one of us and ties us all together. Art is at the very center of every society.

 

Imagine if there was no art, no music, no dance, and no theater; no one to entertain you, no place to lose yourself in imagination, nothing to inspire, delight or nourish your soul. This desolate world would be gray and dry and silent. Thankfully this world does not exist. Our world flourishes thanks to museums, galleries, theaters and centers and schools of art. These are vital resources, where people gather and unite to share their souls, dreams, memories and more. These places offer us a chance to escape, individually into the minds and souls and worlds of those we admire, affecting each of us distinctively.

 

We need our galleries museums, theaters and schools and they need artists, writers, musicians and teachers. But most importantly – they all need you. You don’t have to be an artist to support an artist or become a member of an arts association; you just need to appreciate the world of art that surrounds you. So, stand up for the arts and public programs in your local community. Support your local friend or family member that donates their time and life to these organizations. Let everyone know that you understand how important art is in your life. Being a member of a local nonprofit makes all the difference in the world.

 

 

March is membership drive month at Sedona Arts Center. SAC has been a cultural and educational anchor in Sedona for over half a century. It has continuously contributed to the quality of life in our community by providing arts education, developing emerging artists and stimulating Sedona’s economy by drawing students, acclaimed artists and faculty from all over the world to participate in classes and workshops. It has created a place for people to gather, share their visions and slowly construct a community that is praised today as one of the finest art communities in the country.

 

 

Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.

I sit in my office at home, surrounded by sports memorabilia. Old team pictures, signed basketballs and baseballs, a “Godfather” poster and a few stacks of game film from this past season.

A few shelves of books written by great men on coaching basketball, along with many other sports-oriented books share the space as well. It’s a normal office — the type that might belong to any coach, or sports writer for that matter.

I’ve written a few times about the fact that art is subjective, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder and whatnot, but that’s the last thing you want to hear if you are about to purchase art. If you are interested in buying or collecting art, you don’t need an education in art history or the arts in general to take those first steps.  Most people think of art buyers as part of some elitist group, those who are versed in ‘art speak’ and spend millions of dollars on bizarre unrecognizable sculptures or paintings. People, who invest in art then sell it for millions more, do so because it is fashionable. But the simple fact is most people begin collecting art because they love it.

 

Learning about Art

 

Now, before you go spending all your hard earned cash on art as an investment, you should at least understand the fundamentals. There’s no need to spend years in art school for this – you can learn by visiting local museums and galleries to familiarize yourself. This will also help you discover what styles and manner of art you actually like. These are great places to ask questions and find out more about the art world and that ‘art speak’ I spoke of before. Don’t be intimidated when walking into a gallery for the first time – they are in the business because they are passionate about art and are typically staffed with knowledgeable and helpful people. But trust your instincts, because there’s no reason to talk with someone you feel is stuffy or demeaning to you.

 

Choosing Art

 

Now that I’ve got you walking around galleries and museums finding out about style and color, how do you go about choosing art? The first rule of thumb is that you should always start with art you actually appreciate. This brings me back to subjective art and where true beauty lies. Always choose art that you admire or feel a connection with. Trust your instincts and your eye. Buying art is for you and no one knows what you like better than you. It could be the design, the color, or even the subject that speaks to you and says, “take me home.”

 

If you are buying art as a financial investment however, remember that art takes time to mature. Don’t go out looking for a Vincent van Gogh or Jackson Pollock piece that you can try to get a return on. These artists have pieces sold and resold so often, it will be a nightmare finding an investor to spend more on a resell. Instead, look for an emerging artist that you think will be the next Klimt, Picasso or Warhol. This approach takes quite a bit of research and time. Look through art magazines and hit up those galleries and upcoming shows – listen to buzz and see who’s talking about whom. Buying art that is reasonably priced and will be highly sought after is your objective in this case. However, keep in mind that the art market fluctuates and so does the worth of art. You may also want to remember that many an artist’s work becomes more valuable after they’re gone… hence the “starving artist” rarely gets to enjoy the riches of their own work.

 

Leaving Fear Behind

 

Perhaps you have friends that are true art lovers or artists themselves in art clubs and frequenting the art scene. Don’t let this stop you from buying or collecting art…take them along, listen to them, but in the end remember whose walls that art will ultimately adorn. How many times have you heard about the interior decorator who has redone someone’s home and made it fit for Traditional Home or Modern Home, etc., but has taken out the comfort and personal style of its owner? Keep that in mind as you are the one, and your family, who will live with the art you select on a daily basis. So start collecting, but love what you buy.

 

Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.

Last week I wrote on supporting the Arts throughout the community and beginning with the schools our children attend. Art begins in the home as those of us young enough can remember our parents putting up our masterpieces on the refrigerator, or have children of our own now continuing this wonderful tradition. As children we are free to express ourselves through paper and crayons and proud to share it with anyone who would look. Imagine telling a child their special drawing is not up to par or misses the whole point of good art.

Art is subjective. There isn’t any standardized method to evaluating the quality or magnificence of a painting, drawing or sculpture. We can’t measure, weigh or scientifically calculate the superiority of art, because beauty truly is “in the eye of the beholder.” I recently read an article where the writer demanded more quality artists in the world. He claimed he had the answer to ‘the problem with art’ today, which was simply, “there are no good artists left in the world.” I disagree wholeheartedly. Creative expression should run freely with less of the judgmental, biased and opinionated repartee of the critics.

Whether you are an adult taking up painting for the first time or a child exploring colors, the last thing you need is a detractor telling you how to express yourself. Art is an extension of ourselves and while criticism becomes part of our growing experience, it should only be constructive and never something that takes away the freedom of expression and creativity. Monet, Picasso, Kandinsky, Pollock, Warhol, Murakami, Leibovitz all broke with tradition in their art styles and what they wanted to express. They had their detractors who considered their art not good enough too. Imagine if they took that to heart and stopped creating.

…Which brings me back to children’s art and education.

In my home the children’s creative expression runs wild in a thousand artistic forms. I always encourage them to draw outside of the lines - to not be afraid to take the untamed approach to art in all its forms. Artistic expression needs encouragement and the freedom of experimentation. Artists seek approval from family, teachers and friends, who often discourage them or exclaim, “Don’t quit your day job!” if you’re an adult artist, or consider a child’s art as merely an extension of playtime. Parents often give their children coloring books and are so proud of them when they color ‘within the lines.’ They guide their children to color how they feel they should. “Hair isn’t pink! Here are the colors you can choose from.” What they should be saying is, “Paint that hair blue! Ignore the lines! Green faces? Sure! There is no wrong way to color or express yourself.” Don’t box in life, creativity and conception – we need artistic freedom in society more than you can imagine. Start with our children.

So what can we do to help our children?

Encourage them to color outside of the lines. Give them big paper, then bigger paper, and then even bigger paper and tell them to draw beyond the edges. Let them know that it’s never wrong to express themselves in what you might find to be bizarre or questionable ways. Let them choose colors – and by doing so you can get a glimpse into their world. Let them learn from their ‘mistakes’ and teach them that sometimes a blunder is simply the path to a masterpiece. Give them the creative freedom to be masters and they will change the world.


Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.

There’s no argument – when it’s time to cut funding or make ‘simple’ budget cuts, the arts are on average the first to go. As museums, theaters, schools and art centers feel the effect of the recession, it becomes increasingly more difficult to attract supporters. Arts institutions and school programs are closing, downsizing and reorganizing as our fragile economy runs its course. Our President’s most recent State of the Union speech promised science, technology, engineering and math, but what about the arts? Was that left out deliberately as irrelevant or ignored out of indifference?

Too often the arts are overlooked and considered “frivolous and unnecessary,” but the fact is - the arts teach us about humanity and how to be more civil and caring in the world. Creativity allowed to nurture expands possibilities and dreams. We should always promote imaginative and creative thought in our schools. The arts encourage expression, communication and exploration of our cultural and historical understanding. Arts education strengthens problem-solving, critical thinking, develops cognitive and creative skills and adds to overall academic achievement. Many great thinkers and inventors studied the arts and some even gained recognition as creative artists. Will we have another scientist, inventor and artist like Leonardo DaVinci? Bottom line is we do need artists in our world to connect us to understanding our humanity.

The general public is slowly beginning to understand the importance of art, but we are sure to have some hurdles to overcome as various programs are still being cut from our schools. Let’s always strive to allow creative expression to be included in our children’s curriculum. Their imaginations will bring us the products, lifestyles and even the sound and look of the future we will all inhabit. Look around and see how art in its many forms encompasses your life. See the beauty and inspiration that builds your world and remember to pass that along to everyone you know, especially children. Recognize how each and every creative program is a building block of our society.

I believe the arts will always survive, but we will need louder voices and individuals willing to stand up and remind us how important our creative world is. I am one of those voices, asking you to join with me and be a part of just one of the millions of changes we can make together.

Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.

 

 

About:

Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.

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