Claremont, CA – Where were you in September 1990? That was the year that President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Gorbachev met in Helsinki to discuss the Persian Gulf crisis, the first Pizza Hut opened in the People’s Republic of China and, closer to home, the Inland Valley Repertory Theatre (IVRT) was founded by Donna Marie and Frank Minano.
This year on September 29, IVRT celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary with a party at the Candlelight Pavilion, where the company has performed since 2008. Claremont residents Gloria Slosberg, David and Ahlene Welsh and Kay Koeth, all subscribers since 1990, remember the early days of IVRT. “Productions were held in different locations then,” said Gloria Slosberg. “It has been thrilling to witness IVRT’s growth in popularity through the quality theatrical productions they present.”
Inland Valley Repertory Theatre has become a critically acclaimed regional theater company, garnering widespread honors for its theatrical works. A non-profit arts organization seeking to entertain, educate, enlighten and employ great people through great theatre art, IVRT receives funding from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the Claremont Community Foundation, and from private and individual donors.
For season tickets or more information about productions, refer to the website at www.ivrt.org or telephone (909) 859-4878.
"Putting on the Ritz" with the Joshua Tree International Film Festival
By Hilary Sloane
Does it get any better? We have Hollywood, the Palms Springs Film Festival, and the Joshua Tree National Park. Now we have our own International Film Festival.
by Hilary Sloane
The High Desert offers dark skies filled with meteorites, the milky way, constellations, and deep space objects that inspire visitors to make the journey and artists to create. It’s not hard to imagine when you’re standing outside in the warmth of the summer (transitioning to fall) months and stare up at an unpolluted night sky.
The National Park Service (NPS) dedicated to protecting and sharing, what the NPS calls “natural lightscape,” maintains a ban on light pollution in the Joshua Tree National Park. Natural Lightscapes exist when artificial lighting is absent. According to the U.S. National Park Service website, it is estimated that only around 10 percent of the population of the United States can see the night sky in its natural state.
The park is the perfect place to perch on a rock or bring a mat, and watch the stars dance around you and let your mind drift. The universe invites you to explore its vastness and discover it’s beauty. On a dark night you can see thousands of stars without a telescope. Even the Andromeda galaxy, which is 2.5 million light years away, is visible. It’s amazing to stand there in the quiet of the night and suddenly become aware that you’re part of this universe.
The "Joshua Tree Astronomy Arts Theater" located at the Joshua Tree Lake, RV, and Camp, Park offers starry night events and parties. The theater was founded by the Southern California Desert Video Astronomers (SCDVA), a group of local amateur astronomers that meet monthly for astronomy-related talks and events at the Yucca Mesa Community Center. Riveting images of nebula and various galaxies are projected on a 24’ long by 9’ tall screen with the use of extremely sensitive video cameras. Chairs are provided, or you can bring your own. The amphitheater is large and spacious; add Beethoven or sometimes live music, and it’s an unforgettable experience, complete with the romance of a starry night.
While attending the Perseid Meteor Shower on August 12th, I met two young men from Orange Country who were camping at the RV park. They brought friends, cameras, an appreciation for the desert and an appetite for learning. I met a mother with her three children ages, 5, 8, and 18. The age range of the approximately 250 attendees was from toddler to Senior. No one was too young, or too old.
For the dedicated astronomer and interested novice, club members provide a variety of telescopes, including computer-driven astro-imagers designed to capture deep space in almost real-time conditions. Some visitors bring their own telescopes, and members of the SCDVA give assistance when needed. One of the founders and manager, Tom O’Key, provides explanations about the images projected on the screen and adds informative and entertaining stories about the star constellations and their mythology. He has a wealth of information and generously shares it.
Leonard Holmberg, the second telescope operator, created the Starcart that houses six computers and projects 3D images. Families, neighbors, strangers - everyone huddles together, and it feels like a family reunion.
Larry Filke, a visitor to the theater said, “The Astronomy Theater events have long been an integral part of my ability to fully realize the Mojave Desert as the place on Earth where I am most attuned to my final oneness with all things. These events feed me spiritually, intellectually and communally. I am grateful.”
"Sky’s the Limit, Observatory and Nature Center" in 29 Palms is a grassroots, all-volunteer nonprofit dedicated to education. The Center sits on 15 acres of land and is located on Utah Trail at the southernmost edge of the Twentynine Palms entrance to the park. Volunteers have erected a 15-foot dome housing a Celestron telescope, a welcome center/gift shop, workshop, orrery, nature trail and meditation garden.
On a typical Saturday over 200 people will be coming and going all evening. Small groups congregate around personal telescopes while informed volunteers explain what is happening in the sky. Everyone is helpful, full of passion and excitement.
I was captivated for a good 30 minutes by a 13-year-old astronomer named Sam Deen, who was visiting the high desert with his family. Sam was eagerly waiting for the appearance of "2 mass j-18352154-312338.5," a binary star, about 25 light years away. The sighting would be of monumental importance since no one has ever seen this star. He discovered it through X-rays. Sam and I saw something shooting through the night. It just might have been Sam’s personal discovery or it might have been a Perseid Meteor. He will keep looking, I’m sure of that.
The next scheduled Saturday night session is August 22nd, “Observing the first quarter moon.” On September 5th, “Take a “grand tour of the cosmos,” with guides manning the telescopes and teaching the subject they love the most. On September 12th, the team of volunteers will talk about “Galaxies and Globular Clusters.” On September 19th, observe a Crescent Moon. Add the views of lunar landscapes, binary stars and deep space objects and you will be mesmerized for hours, or at least until it gets light.
The SCDVA also provides private parties and special group events along with Astro camping either in a tent, car, truck, van or RV. Check the website for future showings.
Joshua Tree Astronomy theater website is: http://www.joshuatreetheater.com
Southern California Desert Video Astronomers: scdva.org.
The Joshua Tree Lake RV and Camping Park is located at 2601 Sunfair Rd. Joshua Tree, CA. 92252
Sky’s the Limit’s website is http://skysthelimit29.org
Arts & urban policy expert , Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson and County Supervisors Josie Gonzales and Chair James Ramos to Headline Arts Connection Annual Conference
San Bernardino, California- Arts professionals from throughout San Bernardino County and surrounding areas will convene on Saturday, September 26 in Rancho Cucamonga for a full day of networking, presentations, and workshops about creative placemaking as well as cultural planning and public art.
Creative placemaking is a growing field of practice that leverages the arts to revitalize communities while also addressing broader social and economic issues. The focus will be on developing creative placemaking strategies which artists and organizations can implement in their own communities, sparking creative entrepreneurship, engaging new audiences and strengthening individual municipalities and the County as a whole. Opening remarks will be delivered by James Ramos, Chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.
We are very pleased to share that Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson will be our keynote speaker. She is an Arts and Urban Policy Specialist with expertise is in comprehensive community revitalization, systems change, dynamics of race and ethnicity and the roles of and arts and culture in communities. She is Senior Advisor to the Kresge Foundation and also consults with national and regional foundations and government agencies. In 2013, President Obama appointed Dr. Jackson to the National Council on the Arts. She is on the advisory board of Lambent Foundation and on the boards of directors of Alliance for California Traditional Arts and LA Commons. Dr. Jackson has been adjunct faculty at Claremont Graduate University and University of Southern California, and the 2014-2015 James Irvine Foundation Fellow in Residence at Luskin School of Public Affairs, University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Jackson will be moderating our first panel, titled "Growing a Creative Culture." Panelists include Rhonda Lane Coleman, Director 29 Palms Art Gallery; John Worden, Director of the Ontario Museum of Art and History; Catherine Tessier, Jeved Inc.; and Kathleen Gallego, artist and Founder/Director of Avenue 50 and The California Arts Council.
Our second panel of the day will feature artists and organizations from a variety of disciplines sharing their projects and experiences with community engagement. The panel, titled “Artists and Organizations Creating Community,” will be moderated by photographer and Cal State San Bernardino Professor of Art, Thomas McGovern. It will include an impressive line up: Kim Stringfellow, artist, educator and Guggenheim fellow; Johanna Smith, puppet and performance artist and Professor of Theatre at CSU San Bernardino; Josiah Bruny, musician and CEO of Music Changing Lives; and artist/activist Michael Segura of San Bernardino Generation Now. This will be followed by three afternoon breakout sessions: “Art Making as City Making, an interactive workshop”, with James Rojas, an urban planner and founder of Place it!; “Technology to Temporary: Public Art Pursuits”, with public art expert and consultant, Lesley Elwood of Lesley Elwood and Associates; and “Making Greater Impact,” with Daniel Foster, who served as a founding Board Member of Arts Connection and former Executive Director of Oceanside Museum of Art.
“The arts and culture play a critical role in the economic recovery of the Inland Empire. This conference is a great opportunity to bring ideas and partners together,” states Kathryn Ervin, Arts Connection’s Board Chair and Professor of Theatre Arts at Cal State San Bernardino. “Artists and organizations will be discussing their projects alongside civic leaders, urban planners and private industry. Creative placemaking calls upon these diverse sectors to come together and engage communities through the arts, sparking change and innovation in their wake while bringing programming to communities that are often underserved.”
The conference will provide the most current, practical information and tools available to help visual and performing artists, administrators, organizations, educators and students develop creative placemaking strategies across sectors, which they can then implement in their own communities. The conference is being organized by Arts Connection, the non-profit Arts Council of San Bernardino County, in partnership with the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center. It will be held on Saturday, September 26 from 9 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. at the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center located at 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739.
The conference is free to all members of Arts Connection. One-year membership start at only $25 for individuals (and $10 for students). Pre-registration for the conference is highly encouraged. Registration is available on the Arts Connection website, at http://artsconnectionnetwork.org/events/conference-registrationor by phone at 909-537-5809.
MAY UPDATE! Governor Jerry Brown revised the state budget to include a 5 million dollar permanent increase that pushes the state's arts speding to about 24 cents per person. While that is a a definite improvement from 3 cents per person, California still lags behind the national average of $1.09. It's a start!
Now nearing the end of its 65th season, the Redlands Symphony is continuing to impress audiences with its musical excellence even as it prepares for the retirement of its music director and conductor, Jon Robertson.
National Book Award Finalist Claudia Rankine kicks off
University of Redlands’ Spring Visiting Writers Series Jan. 22
Don’t miss the first reading this spring in the University of Redlands’ Visiting Writing Series, when acclaimed author Claudia Rankine reads from and discusses Citizen: An American Lyric, a mixed-media work that was a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award in Poetry. The event takes place Thursday, Jan. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Casa Loma Room on the University of Redlands campus and is the first of four free, public readings this spring.
Photo credit: LJR Arts Academy
Photo credit: Esther J. Lee
Photo credit: Esther J. Lee
Using the arts to uplift, heal, and empower the community is the mission of LJR Arts Academy, which takes its name from the woman who single handedly runs it-- Lynnzora J. Rogers. A compassionate, talented teacher and mentor dedicated to helping at risk youth of San Bernardino County, Ms. Rogers has great aspirations for providing essential art programs to the county.
Laurel Seidel, owner of the Glass Outhouse, is a witty, humble woman with a wicked and sometimes self-deprecating sense of humor. Her handyman, friend, and fellow artist Frank Mezget is more than half the reason the gallery is what it is today.
There are some people who change the world by the sheer force of their own lives. Josiah Bruny, founder of Music Changing Lives (MCL), is one of those people. Bruny imagined, created, and is the Founder/CEO of an arts enrichment based non-profit in the Inland Empire. MCL is designed to mentor underprivileged and neglected children, helping them improve their lives, and expand their vision of themselves and the world around them.
The 34 year old Bruny, father of a 6 month old son, understands the children he is helping. In his youth, Bruny encountered drugs, gangs, and violence. Music was his way out. Bruny’s brother Won-G, a musician known as a pioneer in the independent music industry, used "street teams," groups of young people in promotional vehicles to promote and sell his music. This became a skill that Bruny, still in his teens, mastered. This experience and its success influenced the young Bruny to pursue music and his own independent career. By the time he was 20, Bruny was making thousands of dollars a week with his street teams. Other Rap artists and studios began to seek him out.
It is well known that the desert attracts artists and creative types, and that there is an ever growing arts community in the High Desert of California. This region includes Joshua Tree, Morongo Basin, 29 Palms, and Yucca Valley. The primary access to the arts community is through its art events, but the Hwy 62 open studio Art Tours is different. Two weekends long, the Tours gives visitors a unique opportunity to meet artists in their respective studios and/or homes. What began in 2001 with just 24 participating artists has since grown to 140 artists and 95 studios (some artists share a space). This year the event took place during the nice and cool fall season, on October 25-26 and November 1-2. I went on the first weekend with my parents, who are art lovers, and left with a strong impression of the scale and identity of the High Desert arts community and culture, one that is nurtured and defined by the environment.