Joshua Tree National Park announces the opening of an exhibit by painter Erin O’Connor, at the Joshua Tree Visitor Center, 6554 Park Boulevard, in the community of Joshua Tree, California. Ms. O’Connor was a 2009 participant in the park’s Artist-in-Residence Program, which is operated in partnership with the Riverside Art Museum. The program encourages artists to explore content related to Joshua Tree National Park. In doing so, artists create a body of work 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 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.
Artist Erin O’Connor finds the inspiration for her paintings directly at the source. Her passion for working en plein air has produced works from the Rocky Mountains, the great American deserts, numerous whitewater river trips, the Hawa’iian Islands, and the California coast and wine country. She approaches each landscape with a keen perspective.
“There’s a raw strength to paintings done on location,” O’Connor states. “By being there first-hand, I’m able to pass along the experience with excitement and honesty. A successful painting has an energy that speaks well beyond itself.”
O’Connor has studied with some of the West’s most prominent artists through the Scottsdale Artists School and the Fechin Institute. Her 2010 schedule will take her to the Grand Canyon Association’s Plein Air in the Rim, as well as the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters national event in Crested Butte, CO.
The exhibit is open to the general public at no cost. For more information about the park’s Artist-in-Residence program, please contact Caryn Davidson, park liaison, at 760-367-3012, or view the online prospectus at www.riversideartmuseum.org/jtnp
The Joshua Tree Visitor Center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 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.