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Art and Culture

Mary Pallais reignites a book festival

The Camp Verde Journal of Camp Verde, Arizona

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Sedona Book and Art Festival organizer Mary Pallais got married at 18, had four children and watched their grandchildren make it into their 20s before realizing a dream she could never quite forget.

"Retirement gave me the opportunity to do what I always wanted to accomplish, which is to be an artist or a writer," Pallais stated. "In 2004,1 went back to college to earn a theater arts degree. 190 units later, in 2013,1 decided to move from California and surround myself with an art community. I visited the Sedona Art Center in July of 2013 and purchased a home in the Village of Oak Creek in November 2013."

According to the 73-year-old Pallais, three factors inspired her to come to Sedona: SAC, the Encore Theater and the Sedona Book Fair.

The aforementioned SAC gave Pallais opportunities to learn different forms of art. In March she was awarded a first-place prize in the gallery member exhibit.

"As an emerging artist for one of my faerie sculptures, I realized that this community has accepted me as an artist," Pallais stated.

In 2013, the Encore Theater was just blocks from Pallais' new home in the VOC, yet it had closed its doors closed soon after her arrival.

Like the theater, the Sedona Book Fair attracted her to the city but said it would ultimately prove a disappointment. When the announcement was made that 2014 would be its last year, it left a vacuum in Pallais' creative life. Pallais had been planning to debut "Lucifer, the Dark Side of Creation" — an illustrated novel in collaboration with her 93-year-old writing partner, Virginia D. Hamer — at the next year's fair.

"That was when I decided to combine the three desires of my heart and create a book, art and theater event," Pallais stated. "We are expecting around 50 authors and 10 to 15 local artists along with budding actors that will read from the scenes of the many books that will be available. The art community will find this, the first year of an ongoing festival of the theater arts, delightful and informative."

Scheduled at the former Teen Center on Posse Ground Road Friday, Oct. 30, and Sunday, Nov. 1, Pallais plans for the Sedona Book and Art festival to deviate from the cultural events currently organized in Sedona.

"The Sedona festivals cover photography, film and art, but do not combine the remaining entertainment options of books, art and theater," Pallais stated, adding that none have yet thought to offer programs for children. In addition to featuring children's artwork for sale, the two scheduled days will include writing and art workshops for youth.

Pallais stated that she is committed to "grow this festival to world-class standing, as it should be considering the number of authors, artists and actors of this area."

Zachary Jernigan can be reached at 282-7795 ext. 125 or

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Original Publication Date: July 15, 2015

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