Dorland Mountain Arts Colony hosting annual summer picnic

Meet some of the artists currently residing at the picturesque Dorland Mountain Arts Colony during its annual summer picnic. Courtesy photo

Dorland Mountain Arts Colony friends, associate artists and board of directors are opening the colony to the public Sunday, June 11, for their annual summer picnic from 4 to 7 p.m.

The arts colony, located at 36701 Highway 79 South outside Temecula’s wine country, is a residency program for local, national and international artists, writers, musicians and composers.

The artists, through the years – more than 1,500 – found Dorland Mountain Arts Colony as a quiet place to work on their favorite creations and revive their spirits while enjoying the center’s California Coastal oaks, natural ponds and trails alive with wildlife and colorful flora and fauna. It retains the legacy of Ellen Babcock Dorland, a world-renowned concert pianist and gifted music teacher, who loved nature and wanted to create a place for other rising artists to relax and enjoy the picturesque mountain scenery.

The Dorland annual summer picnic give visitors, whether artist or art lover, an opportunity to meet some of the artists currently residing at the colony, see their works, hear their music and just enjoy the company. Plein air and watercolor artists, musicians, photography, writers and those specializing in the decorative arts will display some of their creations. Arts and crafts will be available for sale, and a silent auction and musical presentation will be featured under the oaks.

Dorland will provide hot dogs and brats. Wine, beer, soft drinks and water will be available for a small donation. Since it is a family picnic, those attending, are encouraged to being a potluck side or dessert, a chair, personal artwork, writing or music to share.

The Dorland Mountain Arts Colony Board and resident artists will be on hand to give tours of the new cottages and community building. It has been 11 years since the area’s devastating Eagle Mountain Fire destroyed much of the colonies facilities but the colony has since has come back to its former state with newer facilities, while retaining the historic oak-covered grounds and ponds.

Over property’s history, six individual cottages, two art studies, an adobe community building and a kitchen house was created by the Dorlands as a private retreat for artist friends. In 1979, the property was turned over to the Nature Conservancy to become incorporated as a nonprofit organization serving the local, national and international arts community and bring cultural recognition to the city of Temecula.

Then the Eagle Mountain Fire roared through the Temecula foothills May 3, 2004, destroying most of the colony. It has taken the past 11 years and the help of former residents and generous individual supporters to rebuild most of the colony with more sustainable building and construction, including new cabins and the newly built community room. Arborists and volunteers have cleaned out much of fire debris, and the surviving oaks and surrounding vegetation are now thriving again with the help of the recent rains.

The board continues to work with the county of Riverside to construct Americans with Disabilities Act compliant ramps, a deck and several handicap-accessible parking places. A paved road now leads to the colony entrance providing easy access and departure. Donations are tax deductible.

To RSVP for the picnic and for questions, contact the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony at (951) 302-3837 or

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