The Yosemite Renaissance, was founded in 1985 to "motivate artists to develop diverse interpretations of Yosemite and its varied landscapes." Artists from around the country have been showcased in Yosemite Renaissance's annual traveling exhibit. 

Welcome to Yosemite Renaissance

For over three decades, Yosemite Renaissance has encouraged and promoted diverse artistic expressions of Yosemite National Park and the surrounding area.

Started in 1984 by a small group of visionaries, Yosemite Renaissance was set up to continue the legacy of the great, influential artists of the past - including Thomas A. Ayers, Albert Bierstadt, William Keith, Thomas Hill and Ansel Adams, to name just a few. Yosemite National Park was their inspiration. They captured the hearts and imaginations of a nation, and their art encouraged visitors, generated support and aided in the preservation of the park.

The Yo-Semite Falls, Lithograph by Thomas A. Ayers (1855)

It is as important now as it was more than 160 years ago to continue this legacy; to encourage a new generation of artists and photographers to “dig a little deeper” to discover and express the awesome grandeur and the subtle nuances that is a part of the Yosemite experience. 

“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.” - Edward Hopper

Art brings people together from all nations and cultures. It engages in a universal language. We have an innate need to express ourselves and share our experience. We are visual and tactile beings and through art we are able to connect with others. It can spark a thought or emotion. It can jog a memory. It enables us to slow down, become aware and be in the moment.

Mirror Lake and Reflections, Charles L. Weed (1864)

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. “ - Aristotle

The audience is as important as the art. While the artist may express a personal emotion through their art, the viewer creates their own experience with it.  In this way art becomes interactive and a dynamic and intimate synergy is created. Whether serious or whimsical, art can recreate an emotional response that reflects and reminds us of the experience we had when visiting Yosemite and the surrounding areas.

Imagination and creativity are the pathway to the future. Come join us on the journey.

Christine Obers
Director, Yosemite Renaissance

”A world without Art is a world where progress has stopped.” (A New York City based, cultural education program.)

Yosemite Valley, Albert Bierstadt (1863 – 75)



Latest News

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The deadline for Yosemite Renaissance 32 is fast approaching. November 13th is the deadline. Click here to  enter


Art from Yosemite Renaissance Exhibits is Included in NPS 100th Anniversary Celebration Videos

Earlier this year, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy contacted Yosemite Renaissance requesting images of artwork specifically about Yosemite National Park.  They have since produced several videos celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Parks. Each video is intended to inform the public of the importance of the history and relevance today of art and the National Parks and invite the viewer to come to the parks to be inspired.

The videos were produced by the San Francisco non-profit organization Baycats . Baycat is a nonprofit social enterprise that provides access, education and employment for low income youth, youth of color and young women.

The videos have been completed and can be viewed on the National Park Service website.

It is as just important now as it ever was to engage the public. Young people, people who have never visited a National Park need to be invited to find inspiration and their own creative voice. This is imperative for National Parks to maintain their value.

As artists, we can invite people to come and share our surprise, our delight, our reverence, our inspiration, our joy, our reflection, our concern, through our art. In this way we can connect with others and preserve our magnificent natural heritage for the next 100 years.


90 Years, 90 Objects, 90 Stories

The Yosemite Museum opened its doors to the public 90 years ago, becoming the first such building and institution in the National Park Service. To commemorate the anniversary, the museum will host a special exhibit this summer and fall: Why Yosemite Collects: 90 Years, 90 Objects, 90 Stories. The exhibit features a display of the wide variety of artifacts, documents and specimens that the museum preserves. The exhibit will be up from Tuesday, May 31 through Thursday, November 1, 2016.

We had an opportunity to walk through the exhibit last week. It’s a fascinating and informative exhibit, and fun for all ages. Here are few photos to give you an idea of the interesting artifacts you’ll find.

If you’re planning to visit Yosemite Valley this summer or in the fall, don’t miss this special exhibit. Museum Hours: 9 am to 5 pm; beginning October 1, 10 am - Noon, 1 pm to 4 pm.

Link to Yosemite National Park website: