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.




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.

While sitting in a comfy chair at a friend’s house in the Village of Oak Creek on Jan. 23, I watched the seconds tick away on the game clock in the NFC Championship game, realizing my team was finally going to the Super Bowl.

With January 2011 only a few days away, I thought it was time to hand out my 2010 Athletes of the Year awards.

Covering the Verde Valley sports scene can be challenging but nonetheless rewarding because I get to see so many great athletes and their timeless performances.

Shortstop Mike Boler made play after play up the middle to help lead his Camp Verde High School baseball team to the state championship game, only to suffer the agony of defeat.

Kevin Cox of the Sedona Red Rock High School track and field team earned four gold medals in the regional meet in April and three in the state championships a week later.

Luke Goettl won his fourth consecutive individual state championship for the Mingus Union High School wrestling team in February.

Although I wasn’t there, hearing about seventh-grade runner Penny Fenn representing her school and her community in the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in Alabama last month was a tearjerker to say the least.

With professional athletes earning millions upon millions of dollars and still wanting more and top college athletes and their families being accused of taking money left and right, amateur athletics is the only pure sport left.

With that said, all of our Verde Valley athletes and their coaches deserve a round of applause.

Kevin Cox, right, was a First Team All-Region and Honorable Mention All-State selection in February for the Sedona Red Rock High School basketball team. He also earned three gold medals at the track and field state championships in May.For my top Male Athlete of 2010, I’d like to congratulate Cox. His gold medal performances in the 100- and 200-meter dash events were outstanding and his gold medal in the long jump seemed to come easy.

Cox was a First Team All-region award winner and a received an All-State Honorable Mention award for the Scorpions in basketball, leading Sedona in scoring [16.5] and rebounding [6.5]. Cox is only one of three players to play all four years at the varsity level for Sedona basketball.

Runner-up to Cox for the Male Athlete of 2010 award would be Boler for the Cowboys.

Those who followed Boler’s high school career will remember his leadership on and off the playing field most of all.

Boler was asked to throw out the first pitch next to big leaguer Doug Davis at the new baseball field in Camp Verde and was a three-sport athlete for the Cowboys.

Boler played football, basketball and baseball for Camp Verde. Boler earned All-Region and All-State awards in May for his performance on the baseball field and was the 2A Central MVP.

Receiving honorable mention for the Male Athlete of 2010 award, I’d like to nominate several athletes for their solid performances.

Tanner Rezzonico of Camp Verde led his team in rushing with 884 yards and 10 touchdowns to receive an All-State selection this fall. Rezzonico played baseball as well for the Cowboys, earning an All-Region selection.

Jesus Rivera won a gold medal in the 800-meter run with a 1:57.15 time at the track and field state championships in May for Sedona.Ryan Cadigan of Sedona led the Scorpions in goals scored after all was said and done in February, while Jesus Rivera was the 800-meter state champion with a 1:57.15 time for the Scorpions.

Hunter Zwart was outstanding for the Marauders baseball team in the spring, hitting .467 with nine home runs and 41 RBI to go along with his 11 doubles and three triples.

Roman Bux of Camp Verde wrestled his way to a state championship at 140 pounds in February while Mingus’ Alexander Lineberry earned his way to a second-place finish at state in tennis singles in May.

I wouldn’t want to forget Mingus senior Juan Gonzalez, who led the Marauders football team to a 9-3 overall record while scoring seven touchdowns and finishing second on the team with 97 tackles and four interceptions.

For my top Female Athlete of 2010, I’d like to award Mingus graduate Tessa Fanning.

Fanning helped the girls soccer team claim its first state championship in February at the goalkeeper position and hit .611 with nine home runs and 52 runs batted in for the softball team in the spring.

Receiving runner-up for my top Female Athlete of 2010 is Camp Verde sophomore Donnie Buss.
Buss was a First Team All-Region selection in volleyball this fall and is one of the top guards for the Cowboys basketball team as well.

Buss also received several awards while participating in track and field for Camp Verde, making her one of the most well-rounded athletes in the Verde Valley.

Receiving honorable mention would be Sedona softball standout Whitney Cooper, who hit .646 with 14 home runs and 70 RBI.

Cooper had 13 doubles and seven triples and also pitched for the Scorpions, recording a 1.68 ERA in 87 innings pitched this past spring with 91 strikeouts.

Whitney Cooper hit .646 with 14 home runs and 70 RBIs in the spring softball season for Sedona Red Rock High School. She had a 1.68 ERA in 87 innings pitched with 91 strikeouts as well.As for Fenn, she finished 29th overall at Veterans Park in Hoover, Ala., with an 11:51 time in the national championships.

Fenn won the fifth- and sixth-grade championships last year locally, and won the seventh- and eighth-grade title this season.

Camp Verde’s Shayna Sterrett got a First Team All-Region award this fall for her performance on the volleyball court and did an excellent job playing first base for the Cowboys in the spring.

Last but not least, sophomore Mykala Seresun was outstanding in 2010, finishing second overall in the 3, 200-meter run as a freshman in the spring. Seresun earned a title this fall in cross country, finishing first overall in the Division IV Section II championship meet in Flagstaff with a 19.36 time.

Congratulations to all of our Verde Valley athletes and here’s to a great 2011 sports season.

Online Poll

What do you donate to during the holidays?

Meet Our Bloggers

  • rick wesselhoff head

    Rick Wesselhoff

    Sedona real estate

  • rachel star head

    Rachel Starr

    rachel spirit

  • Kelli Klymenko

    Kelli Klymenko

    Sedona Arts Center