by Walt Anderson
Last week I shared the wonderful news that our five-year effort to save nearly 500 acres of the most beautiful and ecologically important land in the Granite Dells was finally achieved. Nothing like this citizen-led effort had ever occurred in Prescott, and it really pointed out how the voice of the people could affect a City Council decision in truly positive ways. We are thrilled, but citizens must continue to pay attention and speak up to assure that implementation of the annexation agreement goes without a hitch.
Just two days before the council vote, the Dells was hit by a devastating hailstorm with hurricane-force winds that removed almost all foliage from trees and shrubs and left a battered landscape unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Just a week later, more hail, heavy rain, and flash-flooding hit the Dells again.
The good news is that the land can recover from a serious weather event, or even a couple events in a row. It can’t recover from subdivisions with attendant roads, cars, concrete-lined ditches, and the like, especially when done with mass-grading that destroys everything.
The message in Prescott has been clear—the Granite Dells is the scenic and iconic landscape that locals love and want protected. In fact, there is strong sentiment to continue to add land as it becomes available to create a truly special, interconnected Granite Dells Regional Park and Preserve.
I’ve been posting Wild Wednesday weekly on Facebook and as a PDF to some of my followers for over a year. It’s been my way of helping others to appreciate the beauty of our local area, particularly the Dells, and to learn a bit more about how nature works. The support of my followers has been very gratifying.
I have two Tanzania safaris coming up, and they will take nearly all of my attention for the next couple months, so Wild Wednesday will be on a leave of absence for a while. It will return!
In the meantime, I really want to encourage you to check out and participate in the online auction being offered by the Granite Dells Preservation Foundation (GDPF) until August 1. There are many excellent offerings there, including some impressive artwork by members of the international group, Artists and Biologists Unite for Nature (ABUN) and by talented local artists and photographers. There is a connection to my Dells photography too, as I supplied ABUN with more than 300 of my photos to use as reference for the works they submitted.
GDPF is a non-profit dedicated to supporting land acquisition, education, and enhancing the visitor experience in the Dells. Your purchase will be dedicated to preserving and interpreting this amazing place. I will showcase a few of the pieces in the auction here, but head on over to the auction site and show your love for the Dells by purchasing something good—often discounted well below gallery value.
This charming watercolor of a blooming cactus by Prescott artist Sandy Combs brings a touch of desert elegance to your décor, and it’s a real bargain. There is already a bid on it, but you can add to that bid or play it safe and buy it outright for just $150.
Wow, German artist Marion Schön, the coordinator of the ABUN project with me, really hit the ball out of the park with this stunning pastel portrait of a Dells Peregrine Falcon. She generously shipped this original all the way from Europe to help support the Dells, and you can acquire it outright for an incredibly reasonable $400, or take your chances with a starting bid of $300. You can support the Dells while acquiring an amazing treasure, a portrait of one of the most spectacular of our neighbors in the Dells.
The iconic Granite Dells mirrored in Watson Lake. What a stunning photo by Dennis Tromburg! He did his research, made sure he was in the right spot at the right time, and had the eye and technical skill to pull it off perfectly. This large 45 x 30” photo is mounted on HD metal and is ready to hang. What an impressive addition this would be for your home or office décor! There are already two bids on it, but until it reaches the “Buy Now” value, it’s still available!
Famed British artist Samantha Greenhill created this lovely pastel portrait of a Great Horned Owl based on one of my photos. Her pastels rarely hit the gallery walls, as they tend to be snatched up by buyers familiar with her amazing talent. Sam generously donated several originals to GDPF to help the Dells cause, and more will appear at the live auction next spring. However, this one is a surprisingly affordable piece, so get it while you can!
One of Prescott’s best-known photographers, Dale Maas captured a dramatic moment with iconic Thumb Butte in the scene. Can you imagine how difficult it was to get this shot? “Storm Cell over Thumb Butte” is printed on metal, 30×30”. It’s an excellent buy and a wonderful tribute to our area.
Acclaimed California artist Anne Shoemaker-Magdaleno fell in love with this project and contributed a number of original art pieces to help raise money for the cause. This 20 x 20” original oil painting, “Guardians of the Dells,” features two hummingbirds and a chipmunk at a blooming Claretcup Cactus in the granite. Don’t miss the chance to acquire an original oil by Annie (who paints under the name of Chabrier) and support the Granite Dells at the same time! Check out her other paintings in this online auction too.
Prescott artist Jodi Maas has donated this 24 x 24” framed original acrylic painting entitled “Lakeside Delight” inspired by Watson Woods at the edge of the Dells. There is a bid on it but still plenty of room for you to get in on the action. As its owner, you could be in the company of celebrities such as Hugh Jackman, Dr. Phil, Nicole Kidman, and Keith Urban as a collector of Jodi Maas!
Lee Zwak has captured an incredibly magical moment in the Granite Dells. This large 44 x 52” framed photo is ready to display. It will remain a vivid reminder of your willingness to contribute to the protection of the Dells. I encourage you to get this while you still can!
Dennis Galloway made excellent use of his photo talents when he lived in Prescott, and he has kindly donated a good number of photos, both color and black-and-white, to the cause. I urge you to check out the pieces available now and watch for more works when we have the live auction next spring. This stunning photo has a starting bid of $20 and can be bought instantly at $30!
Finally, I want to call attention to this lovely original 7 x 9” framed oil painting featuring a Red-tailed Hawk soaring above the Dells in the midst of a dramatic monsoon sunset. Lia Bomar is a well-known Arizona artist who has won awards at the Phippen Western Art Show, Scottsdale Artists School, and Sedona Arts Festival. She has studied with accomplished mentors in the US and at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy. She participates in several of the major art shows held at the Courthouse Square in Prescott. Can you believe that you can grab this original for just a few hundred dollars? And help the Dells at the same time?
These are just some of the art pieces in the Granite Dells Preservation Foundation online auction. There are also wonderful activities, passes, lessons, and the like in the auction, as well. We hope you will support the cause and gain something tangible thanks to the generosity of the donors. If you have something you would like to contribute for future fund-raisers, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.