Press release

In September, fall colors are vibrant in California’s Eastern Sierra – providing the perfect opportunity for painters and photographers alike to get outside and enjoy the beautiful diversity of our region, including the Inyo National Forest.

Photo courtesy of Sally Hanrahan

Photo courtesy of Sally Hanrahan

A partnership of Inyo and Mono County businesses and organizations have organized the first ever Eastern Sierra Arts Festival to provide a fun-filled weekend of workshops, receptions and outings in and around Mammoth Lakes, California, the final weekend of September 2015. This festival offers a unique opportunity for local and visiting artists to attend workshops and create works highlighting the stunning beauty of the Inyo National Forest.

Sponsors include the: Sierra Club Range of Light Group, Coons Gallery, Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association, Bristlecone Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, Spotted Dog Press, the Gallery at Twin Lakes, and KMMT-KRHV

The Festival will feature two respected professional plein air painters – Dale Laitinen and Joan Hoffmann – who will teach painting over the weekend. In addition, well-known professional photographers Keith Walklet and the team of Sally Hanrahan and Kurt Molnar will help photographers hone their skills.  Workshop students will visit and paint or photograph such stunning Inyo National Forest locations as Convict Lake, O’Harrel Canyon in the Glass Mountains, Aerie Crag in the June Lake Loop, and Rock Creek.

The following is an overview of the weekend activities:

Friday, September 25.  Welcome Reception with appetizers and assorted beverages. Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center.

Saturday, September 26.  Daytime plein air painting and photography workshops in the Inyo National Forest.

Afternoon Open House at the Gallery at Twin Lakes in Mammoth Lakes.

Dinner at The Bistro East in Mammoth Lakes (no-host bar).

Sunday, September 27.  Daytime plein air painting and photography workshops in the Inyo National Forest.

Farewell gathering with afternoon tea/coffee/desserts at Cerro Coso College, Mammoth Lakes Campus.

As a special offer, the Coons Gallery in Bishop, CA is giving a complimentary copy of the beautiful book, Robert Clunie: Plein Air Painter of the Sierra, by Richard Coons, an $85.00 value, to all Eastern Sierra Arts Festival participants.

The all-inclusive cost for the weekend (excluding accommodations) is $175.00 per person.  Registration is open and space is limited – don’t miss out!

To Register:  Mail a check payable to the Sierra Club (please put “Arts Festival” in the memo line) to the attention of Lesley Bruns, Sierra Club Range of Light Group, at P.O. Box 9431, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546. Please note that the fee for this workshop is not tax deductible.  Volunteer opportunities and scholarships are available.  Online registration is also available at  For further details, please call Lesley at 818-424-5552 or email [email protected].

Call for Artists for October Eastern Sierra Arts Gallery Show and Sale: Following the Festival’s September 25-27 weekend of outdoor painting and photography workshops, an Eastern Sierra Arts Gallery Show and Sale is being planned. The show will run during October, with an opening reception planned for early in the month.

The call for painters and photographers to submit works for this Eastern Sierra Arts exhibit is now open to both professional and amateur artists, whether or not they are participating in the September 25-27 weekend painting and photography workshops.  All works must feature a place within or aspect or feature of the Inyo National Forest.  For additional information on submitting works for this exhibit, email Fran Hunt, Sierra Club’s Eastern Sierra Organizer, at [email protected].  Deadline for submissions has recently been extended to September 23.

The Inyo National Forest has long been a magnet for artists. The Eastern Sierra Arts Festival’s workshops and Gallery Show offer unique opportunities for painters and photographers of all abilities to create and display art showcasing the forest’s stunning beauty and its rich landscapes.

As Hunt notes, “Art has been described as a conversation – between artist and landscape and between artist and audience.  As the Forest Service works to engage stakeholders and draft a plan that will shape the future of the Inyo National Forest for generations to come, the Festival will provide space for an important public conversation about the many diverse economic, social and ecological benefits the forest provides local communities, residents and visitors alike.”

The weekend’s timing also corresponds with National Public Lands Day, a national celebration of the role of national forests and other public lands in our lives.  Festival organizers invite you to join them to spend a wonderful weekend networking with other artists in the High Sierra.  Volunteers are also needed for a variety of positions during the course of the Arts Festival weekend and to assist with the Gallery Show.


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