“The Jewel of North County,” an Art Exhibition sponsored by Valley Center Art Association and Friends of the Library, is currently on display at the VC Library Community Room. The art is inspired by historic Rancho Guejito. The exhibit is on display courtesy of a private collector.
Mixed media, photographs, and watercolors by long time residents and neighbors of Rancho Guejito, VCAA artists Barbara Scharnau and Gloria Warren are on display through August 2015. An artist’s meet and greet is scheduled from 2 – 4 p.m., August 22 in the VC Library Community room.
Speakers at the Meet and Greet will include: Richard W. Halsey, director of the California Chaparral Institute, Joaquin Aganza, president of the board of Friends of Hellhole Canyon Preserve and Bonnie Wheeler, board member of Friends of Hellhole. Singer/guitarist Pete Olson will provide entertainment from 3 – 4 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
“Hellhole Canyon Open Space Preserve shares the flora and fauna that can be seen on the Guejito Ranch,” said Wheeler. “The preserve also shares the timeless quality of the ranch in that walking its trails makes the visitor feel as if he has dropped back one hundred years in time.”
According to a document prepared by Valley Center History Museum, “The historic Rancho Guejito in Valley Center was granted in 1845 by the Mexican Governor of California, Pio Pico, to Don Jose Maria Orozco. Among 800 original ranchos, it is the only Mexican Land Grant rancho still in existence with its boundaries intact. Originally 13,298 acres, today it covers more than 23,000 acres. Guejito has operated mainly as a cattle ranch. It is privately owned.”
The Valley Center History Museum Website, www.vchistory.org/ historical-sites/guejito-californiaslast rancho/, states: “Untouched by time, the property has been described as a ranch ‘that cattlemen see only in their dreams’ and a place ‘where the old west is alive and well.’ A rancher who ran cattle on the site for decades declared, ‘This is where the asphalt ends and the Old West begins.’ ”
The Website goes on to say; “The ranch boasts great stands of the county’s rare Engelmann oaks, and there are reports that 16 species of raptors, among them the Golden Eagle, make their home on the property. There are also prehistoric American Indian sites, archaeological resources, and the presence of some endangered species of animals. It is not uncommon for a mountain lion to approach a visitor. An adobe house on site is believed to date to 1859 and there are remnants of a once-active winery.”
The Valley Center Historical Society maintains a permanent exhibition on Rancho Guejito at the Valley Center History Museum. The museum has a significant archive on the property, including copies of original maps, deeds and documents, many in Spanish, which was the official language of the territory in 1845.
“Valley Center Art Association is pleased to highlight the work of these talented artists,” said VCAA member Carolyn McGraw. “We invite the public to come to the meet and greet August 22 to speak with artists Barbara and Gloria, learn about the flora of Rancho Guejito and to share the natural splendor of a historic treasure which is right in our backyard.”
VCAA strives to provide Valley Center and Pauma Valley artists with a variety of opportunities to learn and share,” said VCAA President Barbara Graham. “VCAA offers a yearly open art show and student art show, student scholarships, classes open to the public and a weekly oil painting class for seniors sponsored by the Friends of the Library.” VCAA recently offered a plein air painting opportunity at a member’s ranch overlooking the Guejito and a well-attended photography class taught by VC photographer, Sandy Zelasko.
The VC Library and History Museum are located at 29200 Cole Grade Road, Valley Center, California 92082.