For almost her whole life, art has been the center of everything for Huachuca Art Association president Elizabeth “Liz” Horning.
Known for her oil paintings of flowers and landscapes, and serving an integral part of the association since 2007, Horning has become well-known among the artists of Sierra Vista.
“I’m usually doing art,” she said laughing as she thought about what she does in her “free” time. “At the association, I have been secretary, treasurer, president two times, and now I’m president again.”
Horning moved to Sierra Vista in 2002 from Phoenix, where she lived since 1973, doing a variety of art jobs.
“I was an advertising artist, I did decorative art — painting little faces of animals — and I got a job with the Phoenix Art Group. They did large paintings mainly,” she said. “I was doing like five paintings a week.
“They bought everything, and I did a lot of paintings, and then I realized the paintings I was getting $35 for, they were selling for $1,200. So I decided it was time for me to move on.”
Horning next worked for the May Gallery in Scottsdale for close to 20 years, until it closed a couple years ago.
Horning and her husband originally came to Sierra Vista to escape the heat.
“One time we were coming down from Prescott, and there was an accident on I-17, and we sat there about five hours. It was so hot, and I thought, ‘OK no more,’” she said. “We aren't going north anymore, so we started coming south, going to Bisbee, just exploring. “And its cooler here; it’s really nice.”
Ever since her arrival, Horning has fallen for the area, and can’t imagine herself living anywhere else.
The art association acted as an entree to new friendships for her.
“When we moved here, I didn’t know anybody in town,” she said. “It was a good thing to join the group and I've met so many people.”
Horning played a big part in the group purchasing the building at 1835 Paseo San Luis, where they are currently located, about three years ago. The space has provided a place for the association to hang paintings, display 3-D arts, and host their regular art classes.
“We have been saving money many, many years to get this building,” Horning said. “We still have some payments to make, but we are doing quite well with it.”
Horning enjoys their open studios on Thursdays, and said that with the number of classes the association offers, it gives the public a chance to get started on their own art journeys.
The association board works collaboratively to decide on featured artists, host classes, hold regular meetings, and put on the Art in the Park event every year at Veterans Memorial Park.
Lois Bravo, chair of Art in the Park, said Horning is incredibly organized and is a go-to for problem solving.
“She’s a jack-of-all-trades. It’s just amazing how she fixes things, and she always makes sure she has what's needed for vendors,” Bravo said. “She’s fabulous; what a wonderful artist.
“She’s always had this art bug, an ability to be an artist.”
Bravo said Horning has done a lot for the community since she’s been here, from her work on Art in the Park, one of the biggest annual events in the community, to regular offerings by the association.
“She’s very enthusiastic and positive,” she said. “She’s an inspiration to other artists, and helps them with their ability. She helps the community.”
Horning loves to be around art, and enjoys seeing what the other association artists create. She can’t help but buy some of the beautiful jewelry on display in the association building.
She looks forward to finishing paying off their building and bringing even more class opportunities to Sierra Vista.
“We want to expand our offerings, have more classes,” Horning said. “I'd like to have some evening things going, too, because during day, there are people who are working that can't participate.”
Horning was a part of the city’s Arts and Humanities commission in the past for six years, and has also helped with the youth arts festival. On the rare occasion she is not creating art, she gardens a little, and recently picked her old electric guitar back up.
“I really don't balance everything out; I let things go, too,” she said about how she balances everything. “I do the best I can to get what needs to be done, done.”
For more information on the Huachuca Art Association, including their class offerings or information on the next Art in the Park, visit www.huachuca-art.com.