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Doug Boomer

Yosemite Western Artists’ Welcoming Ways


Wendy Denton

AHWAHNEE — Heading home from Madera on Saturday, Nov. 5, we decided to take the road through Raymond, hoping to see some wildlife. We witnessed five or six tarantulas crossing the warm pavement that afternoon, and best of all, ran into the Yosemite Western Artists show happening at Gertrude School.

Familiar faces greeted us, along with the strumming of Terry Robinson, and the sounds of talk and laughter. Most impressive and exciting was the installation of fine art, photographs, and mixed media that hung corner to corner in the historic old school house, and the talent of those who had produced it.

Yosemite Western Artists was founded in 1969 by a group of artists and enthusiasts who wanted to share their work, experience, and passion for learning more about the arts. YWA has flourished and continues today as a good-sized group still dedicated to the on-going development of the visual arts in the area.

With meetings held at the historic Gertrude Schoolhouse on Road 600 in Ahwahnee, YWA member Gina Mims says “it’s a great place to connect and be inspired by other artists.”


Gina Mims

From live model sessions and plein air workshops, to photography and photoshop, along with an annual portrait show, monthly meetings and demonstrations, the organization promotes dozens of events throughout the year. For anyone looking to up their art game, this group may be the way.

“YWA is extremely welcoming for any level of artist,” Gina continues, “with many members who have just started practicing their art again after moving here.”

The friendly group offers participation on many levels, with currently about one hundred members in the organization. For those who simply want to show their support by joining YWA, they say, dollars go toward organizing and funding classes, workshops, and exhibitions, and the day-to-day expenses of keeping the organization running.


Kerby Smith and Lura Schwarz Smith

For members who want to be more hands-on, the organization is always looking for help with events and activities. Artist members are said to benefit from the combined experience and participation in YWA classes, workshops, and exhibitions.

  • Participation in YWA special events, exhibitions and outings
  • Use of the Gertrude Schoolhouse for shows, classes, and other activities for a nominal fee
  • Opportunities to exhibit work at YWA satellite locations including United Security Bank, and at Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce functions
  • Collaboration with Local Arts Councils
  • Reduced fees and special opportunities to participate including Annual Tri-County Exhibition and other YWA sponsored exhibits
  • Cost for membership ranges from $15 to $75 and donations are accepted

Trowzers Akimbo

YWA meets the third Saturday of the month at Gertrude School on Road 600. Doors opens at 11 a.m. for a brief general meeting followed by a potluck lunch and an artist’s demo and presentation from 12:30 p.m. to about 2 p.m. The donation for the event is requested at $5 – $10 per person, and all guests are welcome, say organizers, so bring a friend.

The next meeting is set for Saturday, Nov. 19 when Kathy Marks will give a demonstration of her work. Fresh off her participation in Sierra Art Trails, Kathy will talk about the creative ways in which she re-purposes objects and assembles intricate works of art. She promises to impart her wisdom on ways to find inspiration, how she sources materials, storytelling through art, creating a signature style, and even marketing and delivery tips.

For more information, visit the website for Yosemite Western Artists.


L-R Mary Jane Brewster, Sharon Hughes, Suzanne Banks, Carolyn Hartling, Phyllis McAdams, Juanita Smith, Gina Mims


Norma Rogers


Mary Jane Brewster


Mary Beth Harrison


Darlene Jaeger


The view from Gertrude School


YWA crew 2015 – photo courtesy of YWA 


Gertrude School monument erected by the Grub Gulch Chapter of E Clampus Vitus aka Clampers


Yosemite Western Artists: Encouraging, empowering and inspiring mountain area artists since 1969.

Story and photos by SNO Managing Editor Kellie Flanagan except as otherwise noted.

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