Monday, September 17, 2012

Salvation Mountain

On our month off from the gallery, we traveled down to California to visit our son Adam.   He and his long time girlfriend Kristin have taken on the task of helping preserve Salvation Mountain, an awesome arts destination.  We love their compassion for the arts.

The hot temperatures, the vivid colors and the size of this incredible mountain... it just took our breath away and no words can even describe this folk art treasure. 

Salvation Mountain is an art installation covering a hill north of Calipatria, California, near Slab City and just several miles from the Salton Sea.  It is made from adobe, straw and thousands of gallons of paint.  It was created by local resident Leonard Knight, and encompasses numerous murals and areas painted with Bible verses.
In December of 2011, Leonard was placed in a long-term care facility in El Cajon for dementia.  Concern has been raised for the future of the site, which requires constant maintenance due to the harsh surrounding environment.
Many visitors bring paint to donate to the project, Adam and Kristin have been working to protect and maintain the site since early July.

I couldn't stop taking photos, there was color everywhere!

The Folk Art Society of American has designated Salvation Mountain as a National Folk Art Site.  
Worthy of protection and preservation...yes it is.  (You can donate to the site by going to

Inside were tree branches winding up and through each other.  Leonard inserted each of these and painted them with so many colors and patterns.

On site were many vehicles that Leonard lived in while at the mountain.  He carried through his painting on each one...inside and out.  We even looked underneath and saw that he also painted the undercarriage!

This was where Leonard slept for many years while care taking the mountain.

 While we were visiting Adam, we saw many people pull up and walk to the top of the mountain.   Adam would talk with them, tell them Leonards story and invite them to walk around.   This visitor was from Poland.

Many people loved seeing Leonard when he lived there, this was a small drawing left in Leonard's trailer.  

This is one of the many trucks Leonard painted...not an inch was untouched by his paintbrush.  

Just a sampling of the paint that has been used on the mountain...gallons and gallons.

We were told that Leonard was given a truckload of caulking.  He used this to get a raised effect when painting over the adobe.

Inside sits a lonely chair where many people have their photo taken when visiting...I was one of them.

That's me.

This is the natural shower.

Here is a photo of a photo showing Leonard when he lived at the mountain.  

Adam and I rest at his trailer...I think it was close to 106 degrees that day.  

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About Mary Lou Zeek

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We represent Northwest artists working in a variety of media including painting, sculpture, works on paper, ceramics, jewelry and mixed media. Our second gallery features exhibitions on a monthly basis, as well as selected group shows and special exhibitions. To arrange an appointment, please call 503-581-3229 or email; During our years of operating, we have successfully encouraged the broadening and blossoming of the Salem art scene. We are dedicated to serving our clients as well as our artists. The relationships that we cultivate with our clients and our artists have been and will continue to be long and rewarding. We encourage you to take the time to be acquainted with us and take the time to appreciate the art we enjoy so much.