For four days in October, Bluff welcomes the world to the Bluff Arts Festival. Each year, this wonderful festival helps us celebrate talented artists, the beginning of fall, and, of course, the beauty of Ellen's red rock home.
This annual autumn event started in 2005 at St. Christopher’s Mission and quickly spread across town. From the beginning, the festival has pulled together our broader community. The Navajo Reservation borders our town bringing the culture of the Navajo people into Bluff’s style. The area’s early inhabitants, Native Americans, have contributed to the art and folklore of the region. Ancient art sites, rich diverse cultures and a vibrant modern art community make Bluff an ideal site for our festival.
Each winter the Bluff Arts Festival committee, a group of volunteers, begins the work of organizing the festival. Once a theme is selected and, from art submitted for consideration, the featured artist of the year is chosen, the program planning begins in earnest.
Events include the Trail of the Artist gallery walk, the Bluff Film Festival, the Saturday night gala, and numerous workshops. You may meet the artists and view their creations at locations throughout Bluff during the Trail of the Artists. On Friday night, the Bluff Film Festival features several short local and regional films. The film makers are present to participate in a question and answer session. On Saturday night, we auction the year’s featured artwork. The evening ends with a presentation from our featured speaker.
The small town of Bluff is an active center for artists, writers and archeologists. We draw on these local and regional experts as we design each year’s workshops.
October is a great time to visit Bluff with ideal temperatures, cottonwoods beginning to color the river corridor, and, at higher elevations, aspen, sumac, and box elders offering splendid fall foliage. Come and celebrate the season with us.
For more information on the Bluff Arts Festival, click here.
Recipients Speak Out: Carrying on Ellen Meloy's Literary Legacy
The Old English root of the word care is cearu, which means to guard or watch, "to trouble oneself." For desert writers, cearu is to trouble oneself in the service of wonder. It’s to brave the Utah slickrock on a hot day in late July to make the acquaintance of a tiny mite that lives nowhere else in the world but in the desert potholes of the Colorado Plateau. In return for your taking the trouble, you get this: the chance to keep company with folks like those in Ellen Meloy’s ever-expanding circle—writers, readers, desert lovers—who will join hands with you, drop to their knees and bless the day they first tasted desert dirt. ~ Adelheid Fischer, 2014
Ellen Meloy was drawn to the desert's immense, trembling landscape, and her rigorous and courageous exploration of its far reaches drew us with her. To be given an award in her name is such a gift. I can only aspire to write so beautifully. ~ Sarah Stewart Johnson, 2013
Ellen Meloy writes of wild things - herself included - with such dazzle, wit, and wonder. From the astonishing poetry of her words to the soaring, exploring life and spirit they reflect, she is a role model of mine in more than simply a literary sense. I am so honoured to be associated with her legacy through this award.
~ Kate Harris, 2012
Being in this land, you realize how intimate it is, a tight neighbor-hood of canyons, plains, rivers, plateaus, and mountains. Maybe every geography is like this, but we belong to this one. It is a home in itself. When I received Ellen’s award, I understood even more who and what I was writing for. I felt rooted into this lineage of writers and readers who know what it means to stand on this iron-rust ground and belong.
~ Craig Childs, 2011
I am deeply honored to join the Ellen Meloy family of writers. Ellen combined the artistry of words with the lens of a scientist. She was a gifted writer and an empathetic soul. I am continually struck by the eloquence and ingenuity of her language; I am changed by the thoughts she placed in my head. ~ Michelle Lanzoni, 2010
To receive the Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Award is to brush up against Ellen's grace, to sway against her glittering body of work. And the funds provided have allowed me to forge ahead with ... a project that was difficult to launch amid the financial uncertainties of today's publishing world. Indeed, when it is finished, the project will be all the better for having Ellen's mark on it. ~ Amy Irvine McHarg, 2009
I'm truly grateful for the help the Ellen Meloy Fund has provided me, and I more than admire Ellen's relationship with the desert country and her art--hers was a life to aspire to. ~ Joe Wilkins, 2008
I wrote because I had been there, thanks to Ellen Meloy, who cherished the ways of the desert, and the Ellen Meloy Fund and community at large, which honors her memory and the things she loved. Supporting the Ellen Meloy Fund is supporting this dream of traveling and writing deserts and their secrets across our planet. ~ Lily Mabura, 2007
With its very existence and recognition of desert writers, the EMF provides a hub of support that honors and protects the land. I can't think of anything more important to such perilous times for fragile environments. ~ Rebecca Lawton, 2006
Support the Fund
The Ellen Meloy Fund for Desert Writers is a nonprofit organization with tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3).