By Timothy Rawles / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ
One great thing about living in this part of Arizona is watching it steadily discover its place in the global art community. Sometimes difficult to find, there are hidden gems throughout the region with collections that may foretell the future of how Arizona will continue to define itself as a major contributor to the contemporary art world.
Culture seekers and art devotees can find such a place at the Art Ranch located in the Triangle L Ranch in Oracle. They can meander through the eye-popping displays located throughout the 10-acre site. These pieces seem to take a different form at night beneath the darkened sky so you might want to extend your stay to witness that transformation.
The Triangle L Ranch can accommodate that curiosity because it also offers on-site rentable private cottages.
The land has a vast history dating all the way back to the Hohokam, Apache, and O’odham Native American tribes. In the 1880s, Charlie Moss made the land into a large cattle ranch which was aptly named the “Boot Ranch” because of its leatherworks.
It wasn’t until 1903 that Laura Stroud Ladd branded the property Triangle L Ranch. From there the ranch became a sort of city dweller getaway when it was inherited by William Ladd. Buffalo Bill Cody was a frequent guest.
In 1924 it became the private residence of William Bloodgood Trowbridge and his wife Katharine.
Over 50 years later and Tom and Margo Beeston took on a massive project to refurbish the aging buildings and restore the beautiful landscape.
Now the ranch is owned by Sharon Holnback, a mixed media artist. She has taken her interest in art and nature to make the Triangle L Ranch not only a serene escape from the monotony of city life, but also a living art installation where creativity meets nature.
This vision is evident in the ranch’s Sculpture Park/Magic Path, a large trail where the Arizona landscape emerges into a fantasy land of mother nature and man-made design.
The ranch’s historic adobe barn is now a gallery that hosts exhibitions of contemporary art and installations throughout the year. The welding shop gives artists the resources to create metalworks that might find their way onto the property someday.
Guests are encouraged to walk the well-laid-out paths, which is an organic experience through the renowned Arizona landscape filled with native plants and animals. You can also get a glimpse of the Pollinator Project’s Monarch Way Station, a place where Monarch Butterflies can produce successive generations in preparation for their migration from the United States and Canada to the mountains of Mexico every fall.
The Art Ranch gets really exciting a few times a year with Glow! A Nighttime Art Experience. Holnback has been putting on this event for almost 20 years. She was inspired by the full moon and what started as a get-together with her art friends has turned into a gathering of thousands.
As the name suggests, the many sculptures inside the art walk are illuminated in many colors. The lighted 3D installations produce two-dimensional shadow art on the ground which gives the viewer an entirely new nighttime perspective.
Outdoor art allows admirers to view pieces away from the confines of an airconditioned gallery floor which, given the time of year in Arizona, might not be as desirable. But the Art Ranch ties its sculptures into the natural landscape with such stylish juxtaposition it’s clear to see how the weather is just another part of the whole experience.
You need to set up an appointment to walk through Sculpture Park and make a donation.
For more information including summer hours at The Art Ranch visit their website.