W H O & W H Y
In 1967 a group of artists largely affiliated with the University of Arizona decided to create a community in the high desert where they could live with their families and pursue their creative visions.
Spearheaded by artist and teacher Charles Littler, the Rancho Linda Vista arts community was born the following year. Taking over an old cattle/guest ranch in the northern foothills of the Catalinas, the first residents set about restoring the adobe houses, putting in electricity, and converting the barns to studios and a gallery.
From its inception, Rancho Linda Vista has provided a place for artists, artisans, designers, writers, thinkers and their families to live, share ideas and immerse themselves in the creative process. The Ranch has sponsored hundreds of art events – some planned, some impromptu – as well as offered month-long residencies to artists from around the world. Its own artists exhibit and perform widely, as well as teach in and contribute to the larger community.
Today Rancho Linda Vista is home to approximately 14 families, 8 dogs, 5 cats, 2 horses and a random assortment of javelinas, coyotes, owls, hawks, cactus wrens, lizards (and one too many rattler and scorpion). We also enjoy the company of a wide range of artists and friends, a number of whom return here to visit every year.
The original Rancho Linda Vista was founded in 1910 by George Wilson on what had once been a 19th century homestead and stagecoach stop. Wilson's cattle ranch eventually covered some 100,000 acres.
When ranch visitor Harold Bell Wright sold the movie rights to his book The Mine with the Iron Door, it was agreed that the film would be made on location in Oracle. Providing bed and board for the cast and crew inspired Wilson to open possibly Arizona's first dude ranch, which soon played host to such Hollywood notables as Rita Hayworth, George Sanders and Gary Cooper.
The post-war period saw the decline of the dude ranch industry. Nevertheless, it was at the beginnings of its phase as an artist community that Andy Warhol decided to make his one and only Western movie, Lonesome Cowboys, here at Rancho Linda Vista, causing quite a scandal among the denizens of Oracle.