Since the 1930s, Sedona served as setting for American Western filmmakers. John Ford's filmed his legendary movie Stagecoach with John Wayne in 1938. Over the next 30 years, forty-four major films were made in the Sedona area. Most of them were westerns, but other genres as well. During that time, Sedona promoted itself as "Arizona's Little Hollywood."
By the 1970's, the popularity of American Westerns had begun to decline and with it many of visitors who were attracted to its movie popularity. However, in 1978, Dick Sutphen authored a new book, Past Lives, Future Loves, which proclaimed Sedona's unique spiritual identity. Ancient Native American peoples had always recognized the area around Sedona for its confluence of spiritual energies, and many would journey great distances to experience these energies. With the emergence of an American New Age movement, Sedona began to attract a new group of visitors -- the spiritually evolved seekers. It has been estimated that two-thirds of the people who visit Sedona are there to seek a spiritual experience.
For galleries to succeed, they must offer art that resonates with their collectors. Thus, it is not surprising that you will find more new age art in Sedona than you will find in other art destination cities. For the artist whose work taps into this energy, there is probably a gallery that would be a good candidate to represent their work.
However, the majority of the galleries are quite eclectic with stylized and whimsical work. Despite the beautiful landscape that surrounds Sedona, there is very little traditional landscape work. .
For emerging and regional artists, the Sedona art community offers little opportunity. Whimsy seems to dominate much of the work in the galleries. An artist who falls into what may be called stylized and whimsical genre might find representation. However, for most fine artists, Sedona might be a wasteland.
Galleries of note
A fairly traditional gallery representing about 35 artists. Besides the traditional work, some stylized fauvist type of art. A potential possibility for artist with a distinctive and high quality work. Also shows a few emerging and regional artists.
Mountain Trails is the most traditional gallery in the city. The featured artists are the same as other Mountain Trails galleries in the West. The gallery represents some of the most prestigious Western artists. Probably, not a good opportunity for the emerging artists.
Probably the most contemporary gallery in Sedona. Like most Sedona galleries, their art envelope is a bit eclectic. They represent a few abstract expressionist artists but their stable of artists cuts across contemporary lines from minimalism to geometric art. Represent both national and regional artists.
The Andrea Smith Gallery is artist-owned but show other artists Probably the most new age gallery in the city with both paintings, sculpture and jewelry. The artist who works embodies metaphysical and sacred themes might be welcomed.
A very eclectic gallery with an emphasis on national branded artists, but a few regional artists. Much of the work is whimsical in brash colors. Gallery also offers jewelry, glass and sculpture.
Goldenstein gallery has the largest stable of artist in the city ranging from very traditional to very contemporary. It seems that they have an artist for every niche, but distinctive work that adds to their diversity may be welcome.
Lanning Gallery is a contemporary leaning eclectic gallery. Features popular national and international artists with very few emerging and regional work. Also whimsical genre and stylized work.