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RLV Land Purchase

Letter Dated 18 August 2019
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Dear Rancho Linda Vista Friends and Family,

We have wonderful news! We have taken hold of the opportunity to purchase 34 acres adjacent to our southwest boundary line, which gives us the unprecedented chance to add to our RLV land environment, now and for the future. Many of you know this land intimately from hiking it or watching the cows stroll the ridge at dusk. This land has long inspired the artists who have visited and lived here, as it did Andrew Rush when he created the watercolor above.

This letter is an invitation to partner with us at Rancho Linda Vista in realizing this amazing opportunity to preserve the nature that surrounds us. By contributing, you will help us to expand upon the rich cultural offerings that we have long shared with our friends, local community, and artists from nearby and around the world—the gallery, art openings, performances and readings; our guest housing and studio opportunities; and especially hiking and art making adventures in this beautiful landscape.

When RLV was founded in 1968, it was the painter Bruce McGrew who first put into words the mission that we have lived by for the last 50 years: “To preserve Rancho Linda Vista in order to provide its members with an environment conducive to artistic purposes and other related endeavors.” To this end, adding these 34 acres not only supports this mission but ensures the protection of the wilderness that is such an integral part of our ethos. For those of you who do not know, RLV is a legal construct that deters the selling off of, development for profit or subdivision of any part of the artist community. Thus your contribution will solely benefit the community at large—including the many artists, musicians, poets, writers and other creative people who have been a part of us for over five decades. Your contribution will by no means financially profit any individual or the community itself.

It is the further intention of RLV to explore a relationship with our partner nonprofit RLV OracleArt in the creation of a conservation easement, ensuring that our surrounding wilderness remains protected. An added boon is the voiding of a previously designed road easement that was meant to facilitate the large-scale development of the 700 acres to our south, back in 2005. Preserving this land helps not just Rancho Linda Vista but supports our local community’s longstanding efforts to protect our area’s extraordinary viewsheds and rural character.

In the words of Andrew Rush, who has been a profound force in shaping our community since its earliest years, “Our Mission of Rancho Linda Vista now expands to include our formal commitment to the land around us, land that has inspired and supported us for fifty years of living as a creative endeavor. I am so grateful that we are taking this step, and especially thank the next generation of our RLV family who have taken the initiative to make it happen.”

Down to the nitty gritty, we were able to secure the land for $145,000 (or $35,000 less than the initial asking price). The purchase was made possible through an anonymous 10-year loan of $90,000 at 4% interest, the donations and no-interest loans of ranch members and their families, and a rent increase dedicated to paying off the loan. This combination of funding leaves us with $100,000 that we hope to raise through the generosity of our friends and through a series of cultural opportunities that will be offered over the next four years. Events will include a 2020 springtime celebration for our entire community that we hope everyone will consider attending and an art auction to be held in the fall of 2021.

At this moment, our request is threefold:

  1. A one-time donation in as large or small an amount as you are able to contribute. Checks should be made out to RLV, Inc. and sent to:

    RLV, Inc. c/o June Rettig
    PO Box 76, Oracle AZ 85623

  2. Recurring monthly, quarterly or annual contributions that can be paid through direct deposit, Venmo, Zelle or an old-fashioned check in the mail. If one of the online options interests you, let us know and we will share the necessary account information.

  3. A generous loan at 0% interest that can be used to offset the 4% loan would also be welcome.

As someone deeply connected to the surrounding natural landscape, long-time ranch artist Fox McGrew shares these reflections: “On contemplating the 20th anniversary of Bruce’s death and looking at his watercolors, I came across one of the many done on the land that we’ve just purchased. I hiked with him to this favorite painting spot that held a lone soapberry tree facing Mt. Lemmon. Nourished by nature, I would head back to the studio full of images: earth, plant, animal, birds. I would like to help protect the land that has sustained us as artists for over fifty years. As I watch our surrounding desert be consumed by encroaching development, I’m motivated to save a bit of open space as a corridor to the mountains for the wildlife and the artists.”

If you are receiving this letter, you too have a connection to and understanding of what it is that Rancho Linda Vista stands for. With each individual comes a unique story. And as our elders are passing on, we have the wonderful assurance of knowing that we as the second and third generations are continuing in the work of fostering and creating art, and pursuing other creative endeavors.

In closing, we follow the lead of our third generation, as both those who have grown up here—in their newly adult status—and the community of young people who have joined us show a remarkable dedication to preserving our connection to the land that is as strong and clear as those who came before. Nicolas Littler Baird, the grandson of RLV founder Charles Littler and today a third-generation member reminds all of us that, “In founding the ranch, my grandfather took a courageous leap of faith solely grounded in his vision of a community of artists living close to nature. We owe it to him to take up this challenge again.”

We are confident of and grateful for your financial support as we move forward in furthering the goals and aspirations that this artist community represents.

Sincerely,
The RLV Land Committee
Maggie Rush Miller, Selina Littler, Imo Baird, Judith Stewart, Shelley McGrew, and Emily Stern Düwel

(Download pdf)