2020 Viola Award Finalist for Community Impact (Organization)
“Open Doors: Art in Action” has provided local visual artists and musicians a venue to display their work while also partnering with local non-profits to raise community awareness of social, environmental, and justice issues. The art space is located at the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany on North Beaver St. in Flagstaff.
In the Fall of 2019, the juried exhibition “Locked Up: Pain and Resilience” was ondisplay, featuring artwork from incarcerated persons. Each month during First Friday ArtWalk, the space hosted discussions, presentations, and engagement opportunities on the topic of criminal justice. These included the illustrated presentation “Mass Incarceration and the Bordering of Citizenship” in October; in November, “People Not Prisons,” stories by representatives of ACLU Smart Justice; and in December, “Justice in Coconino County,” an expert panel discussion featuring the Coconino County Sheriff, court coordinators, and detention center managers.
In the summer of 2019, “Open Doors” hosted the exhibition “Water is Life,” a juried exhibit of fiber, photographs, monotype and mixed media exploring the importance of water as a sacred and practical resource in the southwest. The exhibition featured local artists including Shonto Begay, Ed Dunn, Ed Kabotie, Frederica Hall, Jill Sans, Brenda Smith, Mark Vranesh, Ken Walters, and Rachel Wilson. It also included talks, presentations, and music from indigenous peoples and water industry experts.
In the spring of 2019, Open Doors featured the exhibition “Border Crossroads,” an “international and intergenerational response to the human and environmental crisis” (Open Doors website). Border Crossroads was curated by native Flagstaff photographer Raechel Running and included art from Alvaro Enciso, Tucson, Stefan Falke, New York City, and Amy Martin’s Todos Dignos, stories of Flagstaff’s undocumented community members.
“Honoring Elders,” the winter 2019 exhibition, supported local nonprofit Northland Hospice Patient Assistance and invited “deeper inquiry into how to best honor and help the seniors in our lives” (AZ Daily Sun). Honoring Elders was a one-woman show by Kathi Baron featuring watercolor portraits of seniors from around the world.
By engaging with important social, environmental, and cultural issues, supporting local artists, and collaborating with local nonprofits, “Open Doors: Art in Action”has made – and will continue to make – an extraordinary impact on our community.