Reminiscent of art salons of the past — those immortalized by Gertrude Stein of Baltimore and Mabel Dodge of Taos — numerous painters, sculptors, writers and musicians joined art collectors and advocates on Sunday afternoon, April 2 to hear the poetry and admire the paintings of 91-year-old Adele Seronde at the Paradise Valley home of former art gallery director Jerre Lynn Vanier.
Hostesses for the celebration — Betty-Barber Hughes, Lucy Anderson, and Suzanna Moroles — joined by Ms. Vanier created the art salon and reception to honor one of Arizona’s most celebrated artists.
A Renaissance women possessing many talents originally from Massachusetts, Sedona resident Seronde comes from a long line of painters, sculptors, weavers and poets stretching back for four generations. (Her background also includes her father, the distinguished statesman, Christian Herter, who was secretary of state in the Eisenhower administration.)
During her formative years on the east coast, she studied with the famous abstract American painter Karl Knaths (1891-1971) as well as the German-born American abstract expressionist painter Hans Hofmann (1880-1966), regarded as one of the most important figures of post-war American art.
Encouraged by Colly Soleri, wife of the famous Arizona architect Paolo Soleri (1919-2013) the artist and her family moved to Arizona in 1982. Ms. Seronde describes Sedona’s environment, which can switch from tropical warmth to snow in three hours, as a landscape painter’s dream.
“I’ve been writing poetry for the last 60 years,” says the author of such books as “Our Sacred Gardens,” “Living Bridge” and “All My Loves and Deaths.”
She is currently writing a book on education entitled “Pegasus with Wings on Fire in Education.”
At the Paradise Valley salon, Ms. Seronde read extensively from “Deliver Into Green,” which she describes as a tribute to all the visionary people with whom she worked and loved.
Arizona Artists who attended the event included Beth Ames Swartz, Jesse Benton Evans Gray, Patricia Stillman, Anne Coe and her sister, author Kathryn Coe, Joel Coplin, Jo-Ann Lowney, Linda Kilgore and Scott McNeil.
“Many of the artists present at the salon are early members of International Friends of Transformative Art, and came to celebrate Adele’s creativity,” stresses Ms. Vanier.
The enthusiasm of Joel Coplin reflected the reaction of many.
“In some ways, the event was a kind of reunion; a gathering of artists and art lovers some of whom hadn’t seen one another in 20 years or more,” points out Mr. Coplin. “The inclusion of music with Claudia Tulip playing her flute interspersed with Adele reading her poems made it a very memorable event!”
“I thought the event was truly wonderful,” said Oxford-graduate Roger Adelson, Ph.D. who is professor of history at Arizona State University.
“I attended the first art salon organized by Jerre Lynn, Betty, Lucy and Suzanna for Adele Seronde on Sunday, April 2 and it was a glorious event,” said Beth Ames Swartz. “Wonderful music and food, excellent art and poetry, old and new friends and beautiful art brought from Sedona to Paradise Valley.”
Several members of the gathering came from other areas of the country such as former Paradise Valley resident and art collector and consultant Lucy Anderson, now living in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
Ms. Anderson was joined by Texas resident Suzanna Moroles and her husband, sculptor Kurt Kangas. Sister of Jesus Moroles (1950-2015), Suzanna is curator of the famed sculptor’s archives.
Art consultant, Shari Morrison of Santa Fe and Scottsdale was in town for the occasion.
One of Ms. Seronde’s lifetime friends, Daniel J. Finn and his daughter Deborah Finn, flew in from Boston for the event. Former vice president of Boston University, he was also a member of Christian Herter’s administration when Mr. Herter served as governor of Massachusetts.
“The summer Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated a lot of the cities were going up in flames. Boston found an alternative in the arts,” recalls Mr. Finn.
“Adele was one of the catalysts for the mayor’s city-wide arts program called Summerthing. This brought theater, concerts, playground building, and murals to the neighborhoods, giving people a creative outlet for all the passion provoked by the murder of MLK. Adele was especially active in working with the community people, building playgrounds with the kids and painting murals with neighborhood artists.”
Former Paradise Valley Mayor Kent Wick was joined by Barbara Wick, Dorothy Lincoln-Smith, Roxanna Armstrong-Himelrick, Elaine Ryan, Lauren Rosenberg, Lori Humphrey, Susan Shultz as well as Betty Barber-Hughes, Patricia Stillman, and Beth Ames Swartz.
Editor’s note: Ms. Lynn Vanier is a resident of the Town of Paradise Valley