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Sedona Arts Center expands online gallery

Mesa Arch by Bill Belvin

Mesa Arch by Bill Belvin

Originally Published: April 28, 2020 9:40 a.m.

Since government orders to stop the spread of conronavirus included closure of many non-essential buildings, many businesses have been forced to become more creative.

Add another item to that list — one that one would traditionally be purchased in person: fine art.

The Sedona Arts Center has taken a step during the pandemic that would have been unheard of at nearly point in the history of internet technology before the COVID-19 pandemic: It’s placing the work of all 100 artists on its website for purchase, with shipping to anywhere in the continental United States included in the prices.

“We had some online samples before all this, but it was sparse,” said SAC Executive Director Vince Fazio. “But we have pivoted to get all 100 of our artists represented online.”

As of April 20, Fazio said, the center’s website, sedonaartscenter.org, had about 200 images uploaded. Ranging from photography art to sculptures to paintings to books to jewelry, each online item includes a price and a link to purchase it online.

Fazio acknowledges that art-centered facilities are traditionally set up to bring shoppers inside and have them peruse and select art in person. However, with virus restrictions forcing all galleries to close, teams such as the SAC staff are among those quickly and thoroughly updating the online sales capabilities.

“Art is very experiential, and most of us didn’t start out going through that experience online,” Fazio said. “But this gives Verde Valley artists a chance to shine in one place, where a customer can see much of what might interest them from the comfort and relative safety of home.”

Fazio said that long-term, greater accessibility to SAC artists is healthy for the entire Sedona visual art community. Almost all 100 artists featured on the website live in the Verde Valley.

“We have a few from out of the area, who came to one of the schools in this area,” Fazio said.

The photography art is most easily adjusted for the internet. The other items are captured with high-resolution, high-quality photography; SAC Marketing Director Kelli Klymenko is an accomplished photography artist himself, and his work is included in the online selections.

Fazio said Community Relations Director Valerie Pulido has worked hard to build and maintain the online inventory.

While sales have been somewhat sporadic, and Fazio has no frame of reference for online-only art sales by a gallery during a pandemic, there have been some pleasant surprises.

“We recently had a $4,200 piece sell,” Fazio said. “And on a Saturday, a photo sold for $380.”

Fazio said the arrangement is a work in progress. No one knows how long each galley will be closed due to the pandemic; governor’s orders allowing re-opening doesn’t mean galleries will instantly resume the same full hours and staffing as before.

“We’ll determine our hours when we get there,” Fazio said.

Fazio said he can tell by the website traffic that views are picking up.

“It’s a work in progress,” he said. “But the online inventory will definitely be a positive benefit.”

The galleries can be found here: https://sedonaartscenter.org/product-category/fine-art