A private artists retreat where author Alice Sebold penned “The Lovely Bones” and where notable Hollywood composers and screenwriters craft their works will open its doors to the public on Sunday.
And it’s right in Temecula, which still comes as a surprise to many local residents.
“We’re really one of the jewels of Temecula,” Dorland Mountain Arts Colony manager Jill Roberts said. “More people should know it’s here.”
Founded in 1930, the nonprofit sits on 340 acres of serenity along a northern-facing ridge of Palomar Mountain off Highway 79. The colony has two full-service cottages for artists looking to take up a temporary residency to write, photograph, paint or compose.
“It’s a natural setting where people can come here and avoid the daily distractions,” Roberts said. “The views are amazing. We sit up pretty high from the 79. You can see clear to Anza. The views are pretty breathtaking.”
With no TVs, but plenty of open space, creatives enjoy the productivity of the colony.
“Sometimes you just have to force yourself to get away,” Roberts said. “It’s amazing how much work people get done here. They realize there’s nothing else to do but work on your project and enjoy the environment.”
Sunday’s free open house runs from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Attendees can walk the property and check out the artist studios, cabins and views. Participants can also find out how to apply for an artist retreat and talk to staff, who will discuss the history of the property and the wildfire that leveled Dorland’s approximately 12 buildings in 2004.
There also will be live music, food, a silent auction fundraiser, a kids’ activities tent, door prizes and local vendors and artisans featuring their wares.
Local vendors and artisans can still secure a spot for $25 per space, Roberts said.
John Lane, Matt Folkmuse Stone, Joe Gillaspie, Stephen Eldred and Tim Moyer are scheduled to perform. (Moyer, a local musician, is working on an album composed and recorded entirely at Dorland.)
Roberts said many musicians end up jamming together toward the end of the afternoon.
“Some (attendees) end up staying late,” she said.
Also, the Plein Air Artists of Riverside will make an appearance.
Roberts said the event is family friendly and open to artists and non artists alike to see what is behind the gates at Dorland.
“It’s all about trying to share some of the arts with the community,” she said.
Roberts said since the fire, the nonprofit has been slowly rebuilding. She hopes to one day have a small community center again where artists can gather and the property can host events.
“That’s one of our big dreams,” she said.
Dorland currently is accepting applications for residencies for April through August. They also have many volunteer opportunities year-round.