...a little recognized category of public art installations
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In a couple of recent blog entries, I’ve talked about some of the sights that can be seen when visiting Imperial County.  Once you step outside the farmland and the one small city area, it’s pretty bleak.  Or peaceful, depending on your perspective.  Nevertheless, the place has a lot of cultural history, from the settlers who farmed once water was brought here in the early 1900s, back to the Native Americans who lived here long before that.  We have several museums in the county, Pioneers Museum documents the immigration of farmers from all over the world here, and Imperial Valley Desert Museum covers a lot of the natural history and Native American cultures and much of that covers the artwork incorporated into everyday items.
This morning my other half and I were discussing books that were set in the Colorado Desert – we can think of several.  Bearing in mind the population, that’s quite a few per-capita books, and we figured that once you’re off the farm and out of the city, there are only five things to do around here.
  1. Listen to the silence
  2. Look at the sky
  3. Drink
  4. Write books
  5. Make art
The last is the inspiration for this month’s newsletter – there are three major installations of Folk Art in and around Slab City – which calls itself ‘The last free place’. All are constructed entirely of salvaged objects.  The East Jesus Sculpture Garden is apparently a member of the association of museums, Salvation Mountain is probably the largest piece of Folk art in the US, and ‘Carhenge’ is I believe a new installation, although it has been changed since I was last there and a rusted bike was removed.  These three locations all embody the phrase ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’, and give testament to the fact that for most of us, the desire to create beauty in our environment is a core feeling.  I say ‘most of us’ because sadly the city of Palm Springs is challenging the existence of Robolights – a residential installation that has become a tourist attraction.
This month I’m on the road north to Central California for four shows (and still waitlisted for a show in Bellevue, WA at the end of the month), but will be holding some classes on the 13th and 14th.   Meanwhile my website is also on the move – though it might not be completed by the time you’re reading this.  Check out the new look at, but if it’s down… should still be up and running.

Jul 2-4: Art in the Park, Morro Bay, CA. Morro Bay
Jul 9-10: Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival, Los Altos, CA. Los Altos
Jul 13th 10-12am and 12-2pm Watercolor Collage and greeting card workshops at sm'Art Studio, La Quinta, CA. sm'Art Studio Summer Camp $29. Contact Alana at (760) 902 7985 by June 6th to book.
Jul 14th 6-9pm "Paint the night" Paint and Wine evening at Vanguard Gallery, Moreno Valley, CA. Vanguard Gallery$40. Contact Rick at (562) 556-5178 by May 24th to book.
Jul 16-17: Menlo Summerfest, Menlo Park, CA. Menlo Park
Jul 23-24: Transit Depot Fine Art Festival, Monterey, CA. Monterey
Jul 29-31: Bellevue, WA. (subject to confirmation) 

Copyright © 2016 Jeni Bate, All rights reserved.

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