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Big Basin Art About Brings Creativity into the Redwoods

A park ranger stands beside an art installation, explaining it to two visitors. The artwork features a circular design with radiating lines and a mix of colors. The setting is a wooden cabin with natural lighting.
Visitors at Big Basin Redwoods State Park learning about a unique art installation featuring a vibrant depiction of nature and conservation. Photo by Monica Montano.

In June 2023, California State Parks hosted 18 artists at Big Basin Redwoods State Parks to be a part of a special camping experience where creativity led the way. Artists with different creative backgrounds shared space to support the park in its movement to transfer from devastation to inspiration. One year later on June 15, community members were invited to “Art in the Park” to view and embrace the art in the heart of Big Basin. The event celebrated the opening of the Big Basin Art About exhibit by exploring art pieces in various mediums inspired by artists’ experiences in the park.

Throughout the day, visitors from all over were greeted by Parks staff and volunteers in the new temporary Visitor’s Center where the start of the artist’s showcase began. Artists displayed their work using different mediums such as music, sculpture, to interactive maps, journals, and cyanotype prints. There was also plein air painting occurring on the Redwood Loop trail. 

Thank you to all of the artists for sharing their unique pieces with the community:

  • Mary Albert
  • Steven Albert
  • Adrienne Defendi
  • Laura Fogg
  • Linda Gass
  • Nicky Gaston
  • Andres Gonzales
  • Tucker Gorman
  • Patrick Hart
  • Frans Lanting
  • Robin Lasser
  • Melody Overstreet
  • Samantha Saldana
  • Chris Sicat
  • Cynthia Siegel
  • Tina Sommers
  • Donna Thomas

Friends and families also gathered in the amphitheater to explore the redwoods with guided walks, create clay crafts, and learn about community organizations.

With all the fun-filled activities, visitors also enjoyed a meal in the great outdoors from Dos Hermanos Pupuseria and River Dogs.

On the day of the event, before arriving to the park, many traveled by way of the free shuttle program or Santa Cruz Metro. Several visitors enjoyed this experience that will have them coming back to the park in this way again! Learn more about the pilot shuttle program and Santa Cruz Metro (Bus Route 35B).

One of the attendees Jennifer Sotelo Perez, celebrated her UCSC graduation by taking six family members to the event. They explored the Redwood Loop Trail, where artistic installations tell compelling stories including ones from “Big Basin Redwood Forest: California’s Oldest State Park.” Jennifer and her niece, Amy, chatted with the book’s author Traci Bliss.

Creativity starts in the great outdoors!

Some of the art will be displayed in several museums and will be showcased, eventually, in the Big Basin’s visitor center to commemorate perspectives from this very unique point in time post fire – adding to Big Basin’s rich history.