Stroll the pristine banks of the cascading Oak Creek as it sweeps and snakes beneath emerald leaves and across the grounds of L’Auberge de Sedona. Experience the harmonious immersion one encounters as the natural beauty of the land connects with the art that accentuates it. L’Auberge is but one location where visitors and locals alike can appreciate world-class art by Goldenstein Gallery in a day-to-day setting. “The collaboration with L’Auberge is avant-garde,” declared Linda Goldenstein, owner of Goldenstein Gallery and art curator for L’Auberge. “We have made the whole property a gallery with life-size and monumental sculpture in the gardens; changing painting exhibits throughout the lobby and Lodge, Cress Restaurant, and Etch Bar. We have a thriving program where guests can watch artists paint and sculpt. Going there is like walking into an art experience.” The property features sculptures from Goldenstein’s regional artists like Lucius Upshaw and also local artists Glendon Goode, Sherab Khandro, James Muir, and John Waddell.
Linda’s energy mirrored the vibe of her gallery, delightfully engaging. With sparkling, blue eyes and wide smile, Linda spoke fondly of her artists. There exists an undeniably unique and personal connection she shares with each one of them. As Linda conveyed stories of them and their work, I felt that connection. Preferring to speak more of them rather than of herself, it became abundantly clear that people and relationships are the two fundamental elements about which she truly cares.
It is partnerships like the one Goldenstein Gallery has with L’Auberge that reflect perfectly all that Linda stands for as an arts advocate in the Sedona community. Through this collaboration, Linda promotes her artists, enriching Sedona’s arts culture, and making extraordinary art accessible to all. “My business motto has always been ‘Life enhancement through art,’” Linda explained. “That has been the whole goal, to elevate people’s lives through art.”
Linda’s special relationship with the artists is an extremely significant component that contributes to her achieving this goal. In the beginning, when first starting her art business full-time in Sedona almost 19 years ago, Linda worked as more of a representative than a gallerist. She promoted the artists by collaborating with other galleries and venues within the community. This strategy allowed Linda to build a solid foundation for healthy and lasting relationships within the community. Having started her professional life as a banker in Arizona, the professionalism and business acumen, she perfected there perfectly prepared Linda for her next move. Offered a job in Santa Fe—at a high-end custom furniture designer and manufacturer—Linda’s eyes opened to a more artistic world. Eventually, she came to own her own high-end furniture business there. Even today, Goldenstein Gallery represents over a dozen artists—like local Cheston Trammel and Prescott native Jim Pape—known for their gorgeous furniture pieces
Linda’s next transition was a more subtle one, into the world of fine art. She agreed to help a friend in her gallery on the Plaza in Santa Fe, and it was there that she had a significant realization. “It was amazing to me. People came in, and they absolutely fell in love with something, and they bought it,” Linda said, remembering her delight. In the furniture business, the client often requests changes or customizations to a piece. “People appreciated the art exactly how it was,” Linda explained. “I saw that excitement, and I loved the artists, and I thought, ‘I’m hooked.’” Working in fine art, Linda could not only meet the needs and wants of clients but could also advocate for her artists. She worked in galleries in Santa Fe, Scottsdale and here in Sedona, always learning and perfecting her understanding of the business. Then, after 9/11, she decided to return home to Arizona and settle in Sedona full time.
About the time Linda was preparing to move back, an artist she knew reached out and asked if she would represent him. Linda worked with galleries and at art shows on his behalf, making sure the right audiences saw his art. Linda had found her calling. She did this for several artists, making sure their work was shown not only in galleries but also in restaurants and other public venues. As Linda’s business grew, she realized that this was what she ultimately how she wanted her gallery business to look. “I started that first ‘gallery,’ if you will, as a gallery without walls,” Linda said, describing the very beginnings of Goldenstein Gallery. She also found that the gallery-without-walls concept worked well with how many local and regional artists she was representing at the time. “I knew right away that working with local artists was important to me,” Linda expressed. Revealing that it wasn’t necessarily a rule, but an organic metamorphosis of her business model. “Why not work with great artists here?” Linda added. “We know their stories. We know who they are. We can share that with their clients. It just makes the experience so much richer, in my opinion.”
The pieces were falling into place. Linda’s ultimate vision developed into having a home gallery, like she has today, with satellite exhibits around the community. With this brilliant model, clients discover masterful works in their daily lives and, in some cases, watch the artists at work.
The Artist in Residence program hosted at L’Auberge features local artists like Marilyn Bos, Jourdan Dern, Mike Medow, Sherab Khandro, and Reagan Word. Regional artists like Patricia Griffin and Ali Mignonne make appearances when in town. Linda genuinely believes in the people that play a part in making this vision a reality. Because of her clients and artists, local businesses, and other galleries, Linda’s business model has been incredibly successful for all involved. Her desire to create authentic connections is part of what has made her approach so unique. She keeps it, always, about the relationships she builds and the experiences she encounters and shares. Perhaps this is how Linda, and Goldenstein Gallery, came to represent the works of artists Tony Curtis, Dennis Elliott, Orson Welles and his daughter Beatrice. Perhaps it was Linda’s vision, her pure passion, and love of the arts that provided her and her gallery these opportunities. In the spring of 2019, Linda Goldenstein and gallery represented the Marilyn Monroe Golden Dreams collection. This rare exhibition was on display at the Lexington Hotel in Manhattan—in the penthouse apartment that Marilyn shared with her husband, Joe DiMaggio. Whatever secret, magical recipe Linda has for her achievements, she continues to support, unwaveringly, the community she calls, “Home.”
“We love this community, and we collab-orate within it however we can,” Linda will tell you. “It is all an important part of our lifelong story of this business.”
Story written by Sara Knight Photos by Goldenstein Gallery