Drive Thru, an exhibit by photographer Michael Kenny of San Francisco, has opened at the Joshua Tree Visitor Center in the community of Joshua Tree, California. Kenny was a spring 2011 participant in the park's Artist-In-Residence program and his photographs will be on display through spring, 2012.
Joshua Tree's Artist-In-Residence program encourages artists to explore content related to Joshua Tree National Park and to create a body of art that inspires interest in the park as well as building understanding of and dialogue about our national parks, natural and cultural resources, the environment, and desert issues.
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.
In speaking about his exhibit, Michael Kenny said, "In the spring of 2011 I was awarded an artist residency in Joshua Tree National Park. "In the course of those four weeks, I had the opportunity to explore the enigma that is Joshua Tree. During my time there, one thing I couldn't help but notice was the number of visitors not venturing far from their cars…. Using only my car headlights for illumination, the work here is my interpretation of what it might be like to take a drive through the park at night."
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.