As part of its 75th Anniversary celebration, Joshua Tree National Park announces the opening this week of a new exhibit featuring the work of past participants in the park’s Artist-in-Residence program. The show covers a span of 15 years and includes artists whose work was produced in the previous PASTA (Park Stewardship Through the Arts) program under the direction of Tim Terrell. Featured artists include plein-air painters Erin O’Connor of Wilson, Wyoming and Michael Shankman of San Francisco, California; photographer Georgina Frankel of St. Paul, Minnesota; encaustic painter Michael Teters of Plainville, New Jersey; Dianne Bennett, a retablo artist from Ojai, California; and painter Jessica Dunne of San Francisco, California.
The show will be displayed through the end of April at the Joshua Tree Visitor Center, 6554 Park Boulevard, in the community of Joshua Tree, California. All artists who participated in the park’s Artist-in-Residence programs were selected by a jury composed of Joshua Tree National Park staff, museum professionals, and artists from Morongo Basin communities. The Joshua Tree National Park Artist-in-Residence program is operated in partnership with the Riverside Art Museum. The program encourages artists to explore content related to Joshua Tree National Park and create a body of art that inspires interest in the park and builds better understanding and dialogue about our national parks, natural and cultural resources, the environment, and desert issues. The exhibit is free to the public.
The story of America’s national parks has long been told through the sensitive eyes of artists. The watercolors of Thomas Moran played an important role in convincing the U.S. Congress to set aside Yellowstone as the nation’s first national park in 1872. National parks are now called “America’s best idea.” Since that time artists continue to be inspired by national park landscapes and cultural and historic themes to create works that share their unique vision with the American public visiting our national parks.
The Joshua Tree Visitor Center is open from 8 am to 5 pm each day. Owned by the nonprofit Joshua Tree National Park Association, the visitor center is operated in partnership with the National Park Service to serve visitors to Joshua Tree National Park. Apart from the art exhibit, information and exhibits on Joshua Tree National Park are available, and park rangers and Association staff are on hand to assist the public and answer questions about visiting Joshua Tree National Park. Visitors can pick up federal recreation passes, books, and information about ranger programs and other visitor services available at the park.
More information about the Artist-in-Residence program can be obtained online at: www.riversideartmuseum.org/jtnp, or by calling the park’s AIR Liaison, Caryn Davidson, at 760-367-3012, or by email at Caryn_Davidson@nps.gov.