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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : the villager : the villager June 28, 2016

1/30/2012 2:39:00 PM
Rotating Artist Series features artist Steve Simon
Steve Simon
Steve Simon

As part of the ongoing Sedona Public Library in the Village Rotating Artist Series, Steve Simon will be displaying his artwork at the Village location beginning Tuesday, Feb. 21.

Steve Simon recently published his Sedona collection of landscape paintings and poetry in his seventh coffee-table book entitled “The Spirit of Sedona.”

In his current collection, the artist is focusing on history’s great peacemakers.

The artist’s father is the inspiration behind the collection. Steve Sr. was imprisoned by the Nazis on Christmas Eve 1944 coming out of a Catholic Christmas Eve mass in a small farm town in Luxembourg.

He was taken as a political hostage as part of a series of reprisals against the tiny country’s underground movement. Scheduled to be executed on New Year’s Day, the elder Simon was spared at the last moment and instead sent to a German concentration camp.

The horrific experiences he would endure over the next five months would end with his escape during a “death march” to the Buchenwald extermination camp. When the younger Simon was in sixth grade, his father recounted all he could remember of those dark times. One excerpt stands out for its poignancy.

On the night of his capture, Steve Sr. stood in his extremely cold and cramped jail cell. As he recounted the story to his son, “Suddenly I could hear a lone, drunken German soldier singing ‘Silent Night.’ Imagine listening to the lyrics ‘sleep in heavenly peace’ under those circumstances, knowing you were to be executed despite your innocence.”

The motivation for Steve Jr.’s Great Peacemaker collection finds its kernel of inspiration in this story and is more broadly motivated by the conflict and injustice still so prevalent in the world two generations after the atrocities of World War II.

The collection is intended to honor those who have advanced peace from more commonly known luminaries like St. Francis of Assisi and Gandhi to those not as well known or celebrated such as Dekanawida and Abdul Ghaffar Khan.

A reception will be held at the library branch on Wednesday, Feb. 22 from 5-7 p.m. At 5:30 p.m. Steve Simon will deliver a multi-media presentation, featuring videos of the paintings from the collection-in-progress.

To preview the collection or sign up for updates as the artist adds new pieces to the collection visit

For information about this or other programs as well as the wide variety of services the library offers, please contact Cheryl Yeatts, Site Manager, at 928-284-1603 or check out our website at

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