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Second annual watercolor and writing workshops return to Shoshone on Feb. 18

A little piece of the art world returns to Shoshone later this month.

The second annual Celebration of the Desert through Arts and Culture Workshop will be a daylong event on Saturday, Feb. 18 will include two workshops sponsored by the Shoshone Museum Association.

“Painting The Desert In Watercolor” will be taught by Great Basin College art instructor Donna Yarrell from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Yarrell, who has a master’s degree in fine arts from Claremont Graduate University, will conduct a very basic workshop for ages 16 and up on capturing the local landscapes with watercolor starting with light pencil drawings and washes. Basic colors and materials will be provided.

Advanced students are also invited, but they should bring their own materials for an alternative assignment.

The afternoon session “Writing Your Inner Desert” is from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. This creative writing workshop is open to writers of all levels but recommended for ages 13 and older. It will be led by desert writers/scholars Ruth Nolan and Craig Deutsche.

Nolan, with a master’s degree in fine arts, is the author of “Ruby Mountain” and editor of “No Place for a Puritan: The Literature of California’s Deserts.”

Deutsche is the author of “Another Place and Time: Voices from the Carissa Plain” and editor of the “Sierra Club Desert Report.”

Mary Burke King, curator of the Shoshone Museum and volunteer for the workshop, said last year’s event was so successful, people loved it and wanted to have it back again.

“This is exciting because it is our second annual, and we are hoping to keep going on this and expand it,” she said. “This area for some reason brings in artists of all types, you know, prose, poetry, filmmakers, fine art, painters, sculptors; it brings in all kinds of artists.”

The fee is $25 for both sessions which includes lunch, or participants can attend one workshop for $10 and buy lunch for $5. All proceeds will benefit the Shoshone Museum.

Reservations are required by Feb. 15. Call the museum at 760-852-4524 or email shoshonemuseum@gmail.com. The workshops will be held in what is called the flower building, just steps away from the museum, located at 118 N. State Highway 127.

The culmination of the workshop will be a 7 p.m. performance by ballet star Jenna McClintock, formerly of the Amargosa Opera House, and her cast of “Teatro El Grande: Tecopa’s Circus of Fine Art” on the grounds of Tecopa Hot Springs Resort. (See a Teatro El Grande companion article for additional performance times).

Well-known area artist/photographer Amy Noel is also the owner/general manager of the Tecopa Hot Springs Resort and a board member of the Shoshone Museum Association.

“It’s by making space and inviting each other to play that wonderful things happen,” she said. “Like Mary becomes a curator at the museum and we have beautiful, amazing international artists, and Jenna is one of those internationally-acclaimed artists.”

The impetus for the “Teatro El Grande” production was McClintock being invited to dance at the annual meeting of the Sierra Club Desert Committee coming up Feb. 11th and 12th in Shoshone.

Noel said the activities that artists in Tecopa and Shoshone create are the kinds of events that help our communities be tight, to be together; they’re not separate, citing the collaboration between the Sierra Club’s connection to McClintock’s event. “We support each other,” Noel added.

She said the debut of the Teatro El Grande is exciting since artists have the space to present their work in a professional way.

“What the desert committee of the Sierra Club does in terms of bringing naturalists and property owners and works together to help protect our environment, and artists in turn are inspired and we inspire each other,” said Noel.

Noel said people like Shoshone town owner Susan Sorrells, writers, scientists and others involved with the work of the Sierra Club Desert Committee all share and learn to raise awareness of why it is important to protect, nurture and play here for future generations.

“This is an area where art begets art, and it’s wonderful to have these people come in,” Burke King added.

Aside from her work at the Shoshone Museum, Burke King is an artist in her own right and has an exhibit on display until March 15 in the Tecopa Artists Group Gallery in the office of the Tecopa Hot Springs Resort. Call for more information: 760-852-4420.

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