Serene and unique as a nature preserve Dorland Mountain Arts Colony maintains its lofty position above the Temecula Valley. It has done so for some eighty years changing little while immense changes were taking place in the Valley below. It was created by Ellen and Robert Dorland who homesteaded the mountainside property in the 1930s. Ellen Babcock Dorland, a concert pianist in her own right, decided she wanted to create an artists colony on the property. A quiet sanctuary where writers, artists and composers could retreat from every day distractions and concentrate on their work.
In this effort she has the support of her good friend, Barbara Horton, who was already a firm environmentalist. For some years the Dorland property was under the care of the Nature Conservancy but was returned to the Dorland Arts Colony with its own Board of Directors as a non profit organization. In 2004 a wildfire swept through the Colony destroying all the buildings and leaving the Directors to start afresh which they have don depending on private grants and donations in the rebuilding process which is continuing.
Dorland Arts Colony has had a tradition of depending on volunteers to carry on the building and maintaining of the grounds and facilities. Since the fire two furnished cabins for the use of artists have been completed as well as a number of other buildings.
It was our good fortune to join a group of journalists who were recently invited to receive a briefing on the history, present and future of the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony. Our hosts included Volunteers Jill and John Roberts as well as Curtis Horton, son of Barbara Horton, who played such a major role in its early development.
What is evolving for Dorland is the continuing and extension of its role as a retreat for working artists but with recognition that it must be less private, more open and establish a new role in the local communities.
The property, all three hundred acres, commands a breath taking view of much of the Temecula valley as well as the San Bernardino mountains to the east. To comply with current county fire and other regulations the Dorland Arts Center requires more revenue and must continue using volunteers which has always been its tradition. . Recently Dorland held one of its first fund raising at a Sunday breakfast and silent auction.
Our afternoon at Dorland was a delight with many photo opts of the wondrous views as well as the natural flora and fauna of the property of which ten acres are developed and the remainder still in its natural state.
For more information on the Dorland Arts Colony, either as an artist, writer or composer, as well as volunteer recruitment call 951 302-3837, on the web at www.dorlandartscolony.org. It is located on Route 79 south, eight miles east of I-15. Mailing address is P.O. Box 6, Temecula, Ca. 92593.
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