Monoprint by Andrew Rush from his exhibit, “Sonoran Grasses”.

The Year That Was & Wasn’t

What can any of us say? From March on, we were more or less in lockdown. Then came the Bighorn Fire, which we watched from our porches as it crept closer and closer. Thankfully, our neighbor’s grazing cows and the firefighters’ firebreak kept the conflagration at bay. At the same time, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, we began to reflect deeply on how Rancho Linda Vista can become more historically aware, responsive to and inclusive of people of color, within and beyond our own community. Starting down a fresh path, we hope to open up opportunities in 2021.

In spite—or as a result—of everything, Ranch folks have kept busy. Maggie graduated summa cum laude from the U of A. Shelley has been delivering babies on the epidemic’s front lines. Kelly has kept advocating for the economically disadvantaged, while supplying us with homemade donuts. And Selina continues to lead physically-distant tours at Biosphere 2—a place that has fingered some key dangers of atmospheric climate change.

Van and KB’s daughter Allegra custom-built a new kitchen for JS and donated her labor to renovate the Lodge attic windows and raise monies for causes related to Black Lives Matter. Regional bands socially distanced while recording in Austin’s Lodge music studio (with Cougar helping on production). And son-in-law Paul has expanded Arnold’s Lodge apartment to include a separate kitchen and guest room for family.

Some of us gravitated to teaching art online—a thing we never thought possible but were surprised to discover works. While we were saddened by the closing of Davis Dominguez Gallery and temporary shutdown of our own, there were still a few exhibits! Fox and Judy participated in a drive-by sculpture exhibition at Hacienda del Sol. Andy R. had a solo exhibit at the Tucson International Airport. Mary Anne has been creating an RLV museum in miniature, while her sister Barbara keeps busy with her own art projects. She and her son Turner are also working to keep Jim’s legacy alive, organizing exhibits in St. Louis, Phoenix, St. Petersberg, Fla., and going forward Canada and Germany!

Our ranch kids grew up. Zeke entered NAU, Ivy left to finish her senior year at Oberlin, Cezanne started teaching kids at Kino, Nina got married, and Judy’s granddaughter Anabelle went off to the Culinary Institute of America. Lyra and Eva continue their U of A studies. In Berlin, Nic finished his museum research project, after getting trapped in Holland for two months when the disease first broke out, as well as wrote some music.

The ranch also offered haven to a handful of young people, with the epidemic’s onset. In this time, Maggie and her friend Ginny collaborated on modeling an art project that aims to bring green areas into Black and Brown neighborhoods, and Amber made us a new sign (’Mask Up, Decontaminate & Space Out!”). Trevor remains our periodic scientist-in-residence.

In the sound realm, Matthias and poet/former resident Rose are making songs, helped out by videographer friend Sean, who stayed here with Amber through the summer and fall. While Imo is also making his own music, he and Matthias are renewing their work together, as moving into digital media makes that possible. Andy H. and Taylour continue their musical experimenting. They also offered a nighttime of strumming and drumming with troubador friend and sometime resident, Ralph.

Ralph is moving on land next door, after Chuck finishes his house. Rick has a great band to work with and looks forward to performing in public again. And June and Rick work to keep the pool waters inviting, year round. In other realms, Betsy has been gardening, June has been busy filling shoe orders, David watercolored, and Alex kept everyone sane with his outdoor yoga sessions. KB has been training a burro named Billy and her (and Van’s) grandson chases invisible enemies in super-hero costume. Whit keeps fixing and tinkering.

Taking over the presidency together (from me, Emily) are our oldest member, Andy Rush, and one of our youngest members, Tina Bolt, both bringing new energy. Both have stayed busy in other ways too: Andy teaches remote/distant art workshops (in connection with The Drawing Studio and RLV OracleArt) and Tina makes and sells teeshirts, bread and sauerkraut. And somehow—due to the amazing generosity of our members, friends and neighbors—we are managing to pay off the new land purchase. With the start of the year is a new initiative, led by Taylour and helped out by Ellen, to improve the ranch’s water and habitat sustainability.

Saving the most exciting for last—a new book has been published all about Rancho Linda Vista! In Bend in the Wash: The Rancho Linda Vista Artist Community, Paul Gold weaves together 15 years worth of stories, photographs and color artwork reproductions, focusing, in the main, on the creative lives and work of some of our most memorable residents. Learn more...