Valley News -

By Tony Ault
Staff Writer 

'Celebrate the Arts' festival draws artists and friends to the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony


Last updated 7/11/2018 at 4:06am

Tony Ault

Artist and naturalist Thea Gavin explains to visitors at the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony "Celebrate the Arts" Sunday, June 24, how the facility has scenic trails and ponds to help visiting artists find inspiration from the nature around them at the colony.

Artists and writers emerged smiling from their mountain cabins to breaking their creative solitude for a few hours to meet with visitors and other aspiring artists at the Dorland Mountain Artist Colony's "Celebration of Arts" event Sunday, June 24.

The mountain arts colony, located in the foothills east of Temecula's Wine Country on Highway 79, is hidden by century-old California Oaks and native sage. It's long been a haven for artists, musicians and writers from North America. The colony's four cabins, rebuilt since a devasting brush fire in 2004, currently are the temporary home for four writers and a visual artist who are working on projects. The four writers published and unpublished, Suzanne Boyle, Pearl S. Sharp, Maureen McHugh and Sharon O'Brian opened their Dorland cabin doors to answer questions from the almost 200 colony visitors. Visual artist Robin Mullery showed off some of her creative works as well.

Acoustic guitarist Robert Rankin Walker played many of the "not so well-known" songs written by himself and other musicians to entertain the guests. Thea Gavin, a writer and artist, took a large group of visitors for a scenic nature walk around the colony. A highlight of the walk was a stop at the colony's lily pond surrounded by reeds and native plants. Others went off for a hike on one of many trails in the 340-acres surrounding the colony.

Showing their many creations 15 Associate DMAC artists set up booths under the shady oaks, while children enjoyed being turned into superheroes with face painting and an opportunity to become part of a Japanese dragon marching through the colony. Providing the children's activities was Don Smith with his puppets and dragon costume and face painter "Sparkles."

Water, soft drinks, wine and craft beer from Garage Brewing Co. were available to quench visitors' thirst. Snacks were available in the new artists media building set up on campus. The DMAC board of directors showed the guests the recently completed fully furnished cabins available to artists at reasonable prices for up to eight weeks. The artists staying at the colony are promised the quiet, solitude and all the nature that surrounds them to help inspire their creations in words, music, design and color.

"It was a perfect day for our artists and writers to make connections," Janice Cipriani-Willis, colony executive director said. She said the proceeds from the "Celebration of the Arts" festival would be used for the general operations of the artists retreat. Kathy Stradley, an artist on the colony board of directors, said the facility is needing to purchase water because of lowering water table in their well brought on the by recent drought conditions adding to its expenses.

The event also sought to bring more artists the opportunity to enjoy the facility and attract volunteers who are always welcome to help with the facility and the 340-acre nature preserve and its trails.

The Dorland Mountain Arts Colony was founded by Ellen Dorland in 1979 and has served as a quiet retreat for more than 1,500 artists and writers since.

Dorland Mountain Arts Colony is located at 36701 Highway 79 South in Temecula. Call (951) 302-3837 or see It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization seeking to improve the cultural and arts of the surrounding communities. [email protected]


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