Celebrating Sedona female artists for Women’s History Month

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Scarlet Macaw Chicks by Mary Helsaple

For the third year the city of Sedona is joining forces with Washington D.C.’s National Museum of Women in the Arts to celebrate women artists during Women’s History Month. Since most people have a difficult time calling to mind at least five female artists, NMWA has issued the #5womenartists challenge via social media throughout the month of March. The campaign's goal is to highlight gender imbalances in the art world nationally and internationally. By highlighting five women artists in each community, awareness of women in the arts will be increased.

“We are thrilled to once again be highlighting a few of our magnificent Sedona women artists,” said City Arts and Culture Coordinator Nancy Lattanzi, “Sedona is graced with a vast array of women with extraordinary vision. I am happy to honor these five women and remind the public the gifts they bring our community.”

The five female artists the city has selected to highlight for 2022 are Mary Helsaple, Marlys Mallet, Marilyn Bos, Ellen Kamerling and Bonnie Hartenstein.

Helsaple’s watercolors are done in a representational narrative style consisting of finely-detailed images of plants, birds, animals and insects in complex natural habitats. Helsaple, an avid birdwatcher and naturalist said, “How we respect the environment and integrate with nature, is paramount to understanding our world and our responsibilities for future generations.” In 2000 she was presented with the Governor’s Award in Colorado for her volunteer work with art education non-profit organizations. She teaches Compositional Art & Design, as well as painting from her studio. Helsaple has been a member of the Sedona Art Center, Sedona Artist Coalition, Keep Sedona Beautiful and member of The Sedona Women since 2010. Her artwork is in Victoria, Canada, exhibiting in Environmental Impact II, which is a national tour to other museums through 2023.

Mallet feels that art chose her, since she began painting and creating about the same time she learned to walk. Through her work she feels like she is revealing the essence of her subject. She was the creative vision behind the 15-foot mural at Sedona Arts Center, All That is Glorious Around Us. Always evolving her newest piece, Stone Creations, was done in collaboration with her husband, Michael Redhawk. This work features a centerpiece created with various geological pieces, that are expanded upon through Mallet’s’ painting. Her work has become a diary of her life, boldly expressing her personal visions of the places and people that have inspired her throughout her journey.

Bos began to paint at an early age, but after a near-death experience her work took a new direction. To Bos the experience of painting opens a doorway into another world. When she works in her studio it is a transcendent experience. She said, “I believe painting is the most nonintrusive way to heal ourselves and others, silently without word or sound, through the eyes into the soul. Painting is my love and responsibility, and the gift is sharing it with others.” Her use of layers, often 100 to 300 or more layers on a single painting, allows light and shadow to create the essence of the world she is creating. Each painting changes as the light reaches the various layers and sculpted texture capturing abstractions of nature. Her work is currently featured at L’Auberge.

Kamerling has been in numerous solo and group exhibitions since 1976. She is one of three founding members, along with her sister artist Bonnie Hartenstein, of the acclaimed Art Encounter Organization in Evanston, IL. Kamerling, co-artistic director, created and facilitated programs that brought original art works by local artists to schools and residences for the elderly. They have served over 6,000 residents in 128 senior homes, as well as over 50,000 students in 109 public schools in Chicago, providing lifelong learning to thousands of adults to 25 cities worldwide. Her artwork is influenced by the places, politics and people she is exposed to on trips. She is always in search of the appropriate way to express her passion through the images that haunt her when she returns to her studio. Her work includes painting, photography, sculpture and installations.

Hartenstein views painting as a dialogue between the artist and her materials. As she works she leaves spaces for the painting to tell her where to go and make her mark, when to activate an area and when to be still. Her body of work is vast and comprehensive. From figurative to abstract, mixed media, found objects, mandala work and more, she continuously is evolving in her expression. She has studied and taught at the renowned Art institute of Chicago, participated in numerous group, museum and solo exhibitions throughout the Chicago area. Her work is in numerous public and private collections, including the State of Illinois building and the Urban Gateways Building in Chicago. She has been a lecturer for the Sedona Visual Artist Coalition and taught at Northwestern University, as well as the Sedona Arts Center.

For further information on art programming at the City of Sedona, please call Arts & Culture Coordinator Nancy Lattanzi at 928-203-5078, or email NLattanzi@SedonaAZ.gov

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