Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Annual Candlewood Arts Festival, 2022


Last updated 3/24/2022 at 9:35am

Path Eighty Eight Productions

Sherin Guirguis, A'Aru with visitors during the opening weekend of the 2022 Candlewood Arts Festival, Seley Ranches, Borrego Springs, California.

After a short lived event last year due to the health and safety concerns stemming from COVID-19, the Candlewood Arts Festival was back again in Borrego Springs on March 5.

The Festival is sponsored by the Under the Sun Foundation, founded by Halina and Chris Avery, stewards of the landmark metal Sky Art sculptures of Galleta Meadows.

The weekend started with an enthusiastic crowd in attendance, including both art lovers who traveled to participate and those who happened to find the festival and enjoyed an unexpected art encounter.

Artists Carlos Ramirez and Allison Wiese premiered new sculptures in Galleta Meadows; both were inspired by the hopes and dreams that we bring to the desert. At the Borrego Springs Library, noé olivas showed three new works from the Worker Patch Series, each a monumental version of a name badge created in honor of a Borrego Spring resident, paying tribute to their work and also the fullness of their lives – their hopes, their dreams, and the things that are most important to them - with a lovingly handmade work of art accompanied by a recorded interview. Sherin Guirguis' created a sculpture sited specifically within the grapefruit orchards of Seley Ranches. A'aru is inspired by the history of the Valley, the connections that Guirguis found between the desert community here and her native Egypt, and the fragrant environment of the orchard itself.

Visiting the sculpture is a multi-sensory experience -engaging sight, sound, and smell. A very special performance by Amitis Motevalli took place on Saturday afternoon, a piece inspired by the iconic tree of life, a symbol shared by so many cultures. Motevalli performed bird calls as she was rooted in the ground, ultimately extracting herself and leading the audience in a procession to Guirguis' sculpture. The weather provided an appropriately dramatic backdrop to this action that had the audience paying close attention to the sounds, sights, and smells all around. Eleven artists from Borrego Springs High School, with the guidance of artist Jake Freilich, made work and organized their own art exhibition at a temporary gallery space in the Mall.

The exhibition, titled Desert Rats, features work in all media from oil painting to photography, metal work and jewelry, and is on view Thursdy – Sunday from 10 a.m. to – 5 p.m. Alison Saar's mobile sculpture "Catfish Dreaming" was parked at Christmas Circle all day. The work is designed to be a catalyst for public sharing, so in its honor we had a workshop for members of the public of all ages encouraging them to create drawings, writing, or paintings inspired by stories, memories, or dreams of catfish. The sculpture is designed to move to meet people where they are - community centers, schools, gathering places, etc., and when you share a story during a workshop, you can reach into the catfish's mouth and retrieve a stone stamped with the word "Dream." The sculpture will travel to the Borrego Springs Middle School and 6th Graders will take part in a workshop to make future fish of their own imagination out of clay.

If you missed the opening weekend, there's still time to head to the "closing" weekend March 26 – 27, including self-guided tours of all the sculptures, drop-in clay workshops in the Art Park, an artists' talk with all the artists (including some of the young artists from Desert Rats), and a poetry reading and video screening event with work selected by Alison Saar in conjunction with Catfish Dreaming, and a final opportunity to meet the artists at their artworks on Sunday morning. Everything is free and open to the public.