Mariposa Life

Arts in the foothills

Artists, artisans and thespians are a few of the focal points in our foothills communities this month and next. The following events provide unique opportunities for enjoying the arts on a more personal level:

William Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost” is playing this weekend at Mariposa’s county park amphitheater. Merced’s ShakespeareFest and the Mariposa Theatre Alliance have combined efforts to bring this production to the stage.

Colton Dennis directs the classic comedy set in the 1920s, about four male students distracted when four females arrive on the scene.

Show times are at 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24-25. Visit the Mariposa County Arts Council website,, or call 209-966-3155 or 800-903-9936 for details and ticket information.

“Arsenic and Old Lace” will also be on stage in Mariposa. The farcical comedy was written by playwright Joseph Kesselring, but is most well-known by the film starring Cary Grant.

Director Fred Friedland says: “This is a very successful play and well-written. We’re having a great time with it – I’m really pleased with the actors!”

Karen Silver is assistant director and Anna Silva is the costumer. Friedland has been working with Silva for more than 20 years. The Victorian ladies’ costumes are stunning, and the set is two stories tall. Robert Skeggs, a retired engineer, and Carol Dewey have been a tremendous help with props, says Friedland.

The cast includes Connie Stetson, Tina and Harve Dearing, Ira Jones and Blair Chenoweth. Los Angeles actor Oscar O’Hara has a role, along with Dob Francise, an international artist from Merced.

“Arsenic and Old Lace” will be performed at 7 p.m. on Oct. 7, 8, 14 and 15, and at 2 p.m. on Oct. 16 at the Mariposa County Park amphitheater.

Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors, and $9 for Arts Council members. The play is a production of the Mariposa Theatre Alliance, a MCAC program, in coordination with Merced College Community Services. Check the website for details.

Freidland and the Alliance are looking to build local interest in community theater. Those interested can contact MCAC for more information.

The Sierra Art Trails Open Studio Tour provides a valuable glimpse into the homes, galleries and studios of regional artists and artisans. This successful annual event is in its 14th year, and continues to grow in popularity. More than 100 artists will participate at locations throughout Mariposa and eastern Madera counties.

Artwork of various kinds will be on display, including jewelry, ceramics, glass and mixed-media creations, sculpture, wood carving, painting and photography.

Following is a list of several of this year’s featured artists and their work:

▪  Jeremy Obers’ hand tools created from stone and natural elements, known as Prolific Creation

▪  Oil paintings by Rebecca Sullivan, owner of Ridgeline Gallery in downtown Mariposa

▪  Portraits, landscapes and sketches by Jeanne Moje MacDonald;

▪  Carol McElligott’s mosaic art

▪  Mixed-media, digital art and paper designed and fashioned by Ocean Jones

▪  Acrylic and oil paintings by Faith Rumm, whose mural at China’s Wolong Nature Reserve was featured in the August 2016 issue of National Geographic magazine

▪  Rick and Jetty Uebner’s ceramics and sculptures from their home studio, Mud Daubers Ceramics

▪  Bob Boomer’s award-winning Western- and American Indian-themed wood sculptures

▪  David Hoffman’s photography, whose artistry was chosen for the cover of this year’s tour catalog

This event takes place over three days, Sept. 30 through Oct. 2, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., giving visitors plenty of time to find their way along the route and linger where they want.

The full-color catalog is only $20 and serves as a ticket for two admissions. The book includes the tour route, with maps of studios and display locations, plus artist bios.

To order a catalog or learn more about art in the Sierra Nevada region, see Sierra Art Trails is sponsored by the Stellar Gallery in Oakhurst, located at 40982 Highway 41, Suite 1. Call 559-658-8844 for details.

Debbie Croft writes about life in the foothill communities. Follow her on Twitter @ghostowngal or email her at