New show and competition brings artists to the lookout

The refurbished Black Mountain Lookout serves as the focal point for the new Artists in the Lookouts Program. Photos by Liz Odell
Feather Publishing

Plumas Arts is working with the Plumas National Forest on a juried art show and competition: the Artists in the Lookout program. The program provides a unique opportunity for one artist to spend up to two weeks of the 2014 fall at Black Mountain Lookout to draw upon the breathtaking landscapes of the Plumas National Forest for inspiration. In return, the program asks that the artist donate an original piece of framed artwork from this experience.

Plumas Arts will be coordinating the application process and hosting a juried art show of works entered as the March 2014 exhibition in its Capitol Arts Gallery. The winning artist will be chosen in a combined juried competition and people’s choice process. The application deadline is Dec. 12.

The artist-in-residence seeks to use art to explore the many ways in which people relate to the Plumas National Forest. The program goals include:

—Capture the beauty and spirit of the Plumas National Forest through the creation of high-quality art.

—Provide learning opportunities through the arts and visitors to the PNF.

—Help citizens understand the connections between public lands, use of natural resources and emotional ties to beauty, nature and self-expression, thus serving as a link between the utilitarian and aesthetic values of the forest.

—Celebrate the power of the arts — and artists — to explore and interpret the forest environment and the forest-related issues.

Selection of artists is based on a scoring system that includes evaluating how the artwork will support the forest’s interpretive themes, applicants’ resume of professional artwork, application and electronic file of work or online website.

Two pieces that represent artists’ artwork will be required for display at the Capitol Arts Gallery for the March 7, 2014, artist opening. Fine art, either two- or three-dimensional, will be considered. Art will be displayed in the gallery from March 7 to 28. Visitors to the gallery will have a chance to vote for their favorite art through a people’s choice voting process

The newly refurbished Black Mountain Lookout is located at 7,161 feet in elevation on the eastern edge of the Plumas National Forest. The 75-year-old Black Mountain Lookout comes with a commanding view to the east of Nevada’s Basin and Range folds; to the north stands the higher, still active Thompson Peak Lookout. At the bottom of the Sierra Nevada’s eastside escarpment sits the sometimes colorful but often dry Honey Lake.

Out of service for more than 30 years, this building was built in the late 1930s/early 1940s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It served as a home and office for rangers who worked on the historic Milford Ranger District, now known as the Beckwourth Ranger District.

It has recently been retrofitted by a group of very dedicated volunteers with electricity, a heater, stove, refrigerator and updated lighting rod to ground technology.

The Artists in the Lookout Program officially took flight in June 2013. A informal brainstorming session with the Plumas Arts Commission and the Forest Service decided this was an exciting concept. Beginning with local talent, the Plumas National Forest offers an opportunity for artists to pursue their art form while being inspired by the forest landscapes.

Information on how to apply and electronic application coversheets are available online at, or by calling Lisa Sedlacek at 836-7126 or emailing, or by calling Plumas Arts at 283-3402 or emailing All applicants must be 18 years of age or older.

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