Joanie Wolter Wins Sedona Arts Center Members Open 2009 People's Choice Award


SEDONA, Ariz. (August 11, 2009 ) Joanie Wolter’s Big Ass Raven Sculpture won the People’s Choice Award during the Sedona Arts Center’s 3rd Annual Members Open Exhibition held July 3rd through July 26th . The award was determined by ballots cast by all visitors to the 3rd Annual Members Open Exhibition which ran July 3rd through July 26th in the Community Gallery. The award was presented by Shirley Eichten Albrecht, the Art Center’s Gallery Director, on August 7th, during the First Friday Reception.

The artist, Joanie Wolter, was born and reared in Southern California. She earned a degree in sociology at the University of California at Santa Barbara and a teaching credential in elementary education from Long Beach State. Most of her teaching career, which lasted 37 years, was spent working with “at risk” students in alternative educational settings.

Joanie has always been a crafter, having done knitting, crocheting, sewing, and tole painting as hobbies for years. She fell in love with mosaics after taking classes in Long Beach, where she and Charlie lived. After working with very needy students all day long, she found that going out to her workshop was a welcome respite, and offered her a sense of peace and solitude.

She discovered the Sedona Art Center shortly after their move, and took many classes before finding that ceramics was her favorite medium. As a result, she’s a regular at SAC’s ceramics studio, and has taken additional classes from guest artists, where she learned to work with paper clay. She’s always had an appreciation for the beauty of the outdoors, particularly flowers, and began making them from paper clay to embellish her hand built pieces.

Recently Joanie has taken another artistic turn and has found a new passion – sculpting. The whimsical pieces she creates reflect who she is – a little goofy and fun loving. These sculptures are made from a low-fire fiber clay which she finds gives them durability and sturdiness. Most of her “senior series” pieces are modeled after her – a full figured, middle-aged woman ready to live life to its fullest.


The winning piece was the result of Joanie’s fascination with the ravens in Sedona, which are so much larger than the ones in her native state of California. She loves to watch them soar endlessly in the sky and “make themselves heard” seemingly communicating with fellow ravens while gazing at the world from a chosen perch in trees near her home. She couldn’t resist using that fascination to create the charming winning piece, which has already been purchased. However, for your enjoyment another raven piece is currently being shown the Arts Center’s Fine Art Gallery located at the end of Uptown Sedona – on the right, just before entering Oak Creek Canyon.

She and her husband, Charlie, became full-time residents of Sedona the day after Joanie’s retirement was official in 2007 – and have not looked back. They and their three cats love the serenity and beauty that surrounds them.

This Members Open Exhibition was created in 2007 to afford all Sedona Arts Center Member Artists the opportunity to show a piece of their finest work in a non-juried exhibit. The Annual JURIED Members Exhibition is held in March. For more information on the gallery and upcoming exhibitions, please call 928-282-3865 or visit our Website at

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