welcome to yosemite renaissance

Works (from left to right) by Stephanie Martin, Corey Peters, Kathy Barnhart, Carolyn Hesse-Low, and Theresa Grams

Works (from left to right) by Stephanie Martin, Corey Peters, Kathy Barnhart, Carolyn Hesse-Low, and Theresa Grams

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 the annual Yosemite Renaissance traveling exhibit for more than thirty years. 

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

Founded by a small group of visionaries with a passion for the arts and the Sierra Nevada wilderness, 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.

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

Yosemite Valley, Albert Bierstadt (1863 – 75)



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We are excited to announce that the jury process for Yosemite Renaissance 32 is complete. 65 works by 61 outstanding artists will be included. The exhibit will kick-off with an official opening and presentation of awards at the historic Museum Gallery in Yosemite National Park on Feb 24th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, and will be on display from February 25th through April 30th, 2017.  The exhibit will then travel on to be shared with the public at other California art centers.

Folllow the link below for a list of artists participating in this year's show, and for more information about YR32!


"Being a part of Yosemite Renaissance this past year has been an extraordinarily rewarding experience. Yosemite Renaissance continues to thrive due to the continued interest of artists from all mediums to capture the essence of this magnificent national park. It is inspiring to see the many ways artists highlight and focus on elements that might otherwise go unnoticed. Yosemite Renaissance continues to be a way to bring these revelations to excite and engage a broader audience.

Thank you to all the artists who have participated over the past three decades. Thank you Mariposa County for your ongoing support. I am truly grateful for the many who have supported me over the past year!"

Christine Obers, Director 10/2015 - 11/2016

Latest Posts from our BLOG

Landmark: Yosemite Through the Lens of Contemporary Landscape Photography

Dates: Nov 18, 2016 through Jan 22, 2017
Hours: 10 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 4 p.m. 

Binh Danh, Yosemite Falls, May 21, 2011 Daguerreotype.  Courtesy of the artist.

Binh Danh, Yosemite Falls, May 21, 2011

Daguerreotype.  Courtesy of the artist.

The Yosemite Museum is hosting this special display of contemporary landscape photography in celebration of the National Park Service centennial. This traveling exhibition, curated and organized by Cara Goger of the Mariposa County Arts Council, features the work of Binh Danh, Mark Klett, Byron Wolfe, Ted Orland, Millee Tibbs and Jerry Uelsmann. These contemporary artists bring new representation and varied voices to the genre of landscape photography, which has been such an integral part of the park’s history. The Yosemite venue for this traveling exhibit will also feature historic photographs and ephemera from the Yosemite Museum collection to help place these contemporary works in their historic context. This exhibit was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

If you’re planning to visit Yosemite Valley, 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: https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/historyculture/museum-exhibit.htm

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 http://baycat.org . 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. https://www.nps.gov/subjects/arts/100-years-of-art.htm

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.