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Yosemite Conservancy Debuts Theater and Art Programs

YOSEMITE – An imaginative line-up of brand-new family-friendly theater performances and art workshops unveiled today by Yosemite Conservancy will entertain, inspire and educate visitors about Yosemite National Park’s incomparable scenery, wildlife and people.

“Theater and art programs make any visit to the park even more memorable for visitors of all ages,” said Yosemite Conservancy President Frank Dean.

“The proceeds for these programs go toward important restoration and protection work in the park supported by the Conservancy.”

The Yosemite Theater features nightly performances, films and talks that reveal Yosemite’s history and little-known stories. Visitors will enjoy new shows with sing-alongs about the park and performances about the characters who have helped shape the nation’s natural lands, along with popular favorites about seeing Yosemite through a climber’s eyes, the park’s natural phenomena and, ranger search and rescue operations.

One of several programs to premiere this year is “Creative Fusion: Exploring the Nature of the Sierra Nevada” in which Ranger Erik Westerlund uses the whimsical art of renowned minimalist artist Charley Harper, music, games and storytelling to take the audience for an armchair nature walk. Another new program is “Yosemite by Song and Story,” a toe-tapping evening of storytelling, music and singing with Gail Dreifus about nature and ecology involving the whole audience. In “Ask John Muir,” every show is new as actor Lee Stetson embodies the father of our national parks, John Muir, in a Q-and-A format with the audience.

Yosemite Art Center programs in the Valley give visitors a chance to paint Half Dome, capture wildflowers on paper, or learn a new, artistic way of looking at Yosemite’s wonders. Artists of all levels and ages create permanent mementos of fun-filled days in the park with help from acclaimed artists.

For the first time, the Yosemite Art Center will offer a workshop called “Bits and Pieces” with artist Laura Morales showing visitors of all ages how to create mosaics with materials ranging from the traditional to the recycled. A new workshop by artist Bill Bartelt teaches painters of all skill levels basic watercolor techniques and how to use these techniques to depict scenes achieving a “sepia” effect, similar to early photographic studies of the Valley, in “Capturing the Splendor of Yosemite in Sepia.”

Visitors will learn to break conventional rules of watercolor through bold compositions, unusual perspectives and fascinating textures with artist Patricia Osborne in a fun day of sketching and using color for all skill levels in “Watercolor Fun and Loose.”

Art workshops run now through Oct. 31, and are held outdoors Monday through Saturday starting at 9:45 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m. at the Yosemite Art Center, located near the Village Store in Yosemite Valley. Registration is $10 per person. There is also a workshop for beginners on Sunday afternoon for $15. Advance sign-up is recommended by calling 209-372-1442 or by emailing artcenter@yosemiteconservancy.org.

Also this season at Yosemite Theater, visitors can see the beauty of Yosemite in all four seasons in a stirring film narrated by world renowned rock climber Ron Kauk. Filmmaker Steve Bumgardner conveys untold stories about subjects in the making of the popular “Yosemite Nature Notes” series ranging from high-altitude plant species to stunning natural phenomena, such as Yosemite moonbows and frazil ice. The Yosemite Search and Rescue team will share thrilling stories and cautionary advice with photography from actual Yosemite rescue operations.

Yosemite Theater performances and programs are held seven nights a week at 7 p.m. at the Yosemite Theater behind the Valley Visitors Center. Tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for children under 13, and children under 4 are free. Tickets are available at Yosemite Conservancy Bookstores and at Tour & Activity Desks.

Through the support of donors, Yosemite Conservancy provides grants and support to Yosemite National Park to help preserve and protect Yosemite today and for future generations. Work funded by the Conservancy is visible throughout the park, in trail rehabilitation, wildlife protection and habitat restoration. The Conservancy is also dedicated to enhancing the visitor experience and providing a deeper connection to the park through outdoor programs, volunteering, wilderness services and its bookstores. Thanks to dedicated supporters, the Conservancy has provided more than $92 million in grants to Yosemite National Park. Learn more at yosemiteconservancy.org or call 1-800-469-7275.

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