Greater Prescott draws more than its share of creative people with its natural beauty and exhilarating climate, which in turn draws more artists to town.
This includes Debra Owen, a fashion industry veteran who paints, stiches, writes poetry and produces mixed media works, who first came to the area 11 years ago to help her sister through a health emergency. q
“I stayed in Prescott because it had such a vibrant, creative community, and that’s critical to wherever I am, to be engaged in that,” she says. “I saw all of that going on but no universal connection, no umbrella, if you will. And I said at some point we’re going to have something like Prescott Arts Journey to support everything that’s going on.”
A decade later she finally found time to pursue her vision of forming a local group to support and promote artists working in any creative pursuit — visual arts, music, writing, dance, acting, pottery/ceramics, tattoos, wearable art, culinary or healing art, gardening or any other activity with elements of creativity.
“I hope that I can. My intention is to make Prescott Arts Journey an umbrella that takes care of all the voices, which means not just individuals but organizations and the businesses that are invested in creativity,” Owen says. Her goal is to provide visibility, tools and resources for members.
Since the website debuted last fall, some 40 artists have signed up for annual memberships with Prescott Arts Journey, the majority from the visual arts but representing a full spectrum of art forms. Its Facebook page, where their art and appearances are promoted, is beginning to approach 1,000 “likes.”
Each endeavor is listed in the website’s directory and gets its own page on the website for a bio, information and up to 30 images. Many members also have taken on a role on the group’s internal team or become an “ambassador” promoting the group.
The group is developing programs for outreach, launching in April “Life is a Story” presentations given by members at the Prescott Public Library on the last Saturday of the month.
“I want them to not only talk about their art but to have their focus on talking about the journey to getting to now; the creative journey. Where did I think ‘Oh my gosh, I have to get over here and backtrack. What were my hurdles and what were my eye openers and why am I doing this now instead of this other thing’?” Owen says.
She also has been gathering entries for a Poetry Live! contest, to be judged by Michaela Carter, co-founder and book buyer for the Peregrine Book Company.
While some members, including painter Kuki Hargrave and musician Sky Cronwell, are prominent in the local arts community, Owen emphasizes the group will work with everyone in Greater Prescott’s creative community: “If you are a creative person, Prescott Arts Journey wants to celebrate you, applaud you and support you, it’s as simple as that.”