The Death Valley Workshop is on track for happening in, of all places, Death Valley, California, beginning on Sunday, February 6, 2005 and running for one week until the following Sunday, February 13. The DVW is being sponsored by the IAAA, the International Association of Astronomical Artists and is open to paid-up artist-level members only. Paid-up associate-level artists may attend at the discretion of the IAAA Board of Trustees.
The Latest News - Monday January 3, 2005
The 2005 IAAA Death Valley Workshop appears to be a GO. We have achieved and surpassed our goal of 10 rooms at the Furnace Creek Ranch (we have 15), and the road repairs appear to be far enough along that we will be able to see a good portion of the park in the five main days planned. We also have the meeting room at the Inn for the week, allowing us to devote any rain-out days to presentations and discussions. If you haven't made your room reservation, please do so as soon as possible. While we have made our 10-room minimum, the Ranch will not hold extra rooms open beyond January 6, so there is no guarantee that you will be able to get a room.
Sunday 2/6 - Arrival all day. Dinner. Gather in meeting room at the Inn for (dis)orientation, "keynote" presentations, instructions for the next day(s).
NOTE: It is vitally important that you be a paid-up IAAA member in order to attend the workshop, not to mention receive your copies of PULSAR and keeping your art in the Artists' Universe exhibition. We have currently have a number of people in default for 2004, either through confusion about the dues payment schedule or forgetfulness. Please check your status with in the U.S., or in the U.K. if you are unsure (email addresses encoded for anti-spam).
Please check the lists below. If you are one of our "Maybes" and wish to upgrade your status to "Good to Go," please let us know as soon as possible so that we can coordinate with the Ranch reservation folks.
Cast of Characters
The members on the list to follow have indicated that they intend to come to the workshop. We have stated previously that a minimum of ten (10) rooms taken at the Furnace Creek Ranch is vitally important to the success of this event, since we are then afforded a discount rate. We seem to have finally reached and exceeded that number. See Reservations below for all the information on reserving your room.
Good to Go:
David A. Hardy
The following members are still listed as possibly attending:
Malcolm J. Currie
Making Reservations at the Furnace Creek Ranch
Our headquarters for this workshop will be the Furnace Creek Ranch, adjacent to the Furnace Creek Inn and part of the Xanterra Resorts organization. Please visit their website for information about the resort. In order to get the Workshop discount rate, please call the Ranch at (760) 786-2345 and ask for booking number 6415. They have us on file and are ready right now to assist you. The IAAA will not be making reservations for you; you must contact the Ranch and make your own arrangements. Please do not make your reservation online; the system will not recognize the IAAA discount; some folks might find it a pain to have to call in, but that's the way it goes. We will be furnishing the Ranch with a master attendee list so they can keep in sync with us.
The rooms we are getting are $95.00 per night before taxes (normally $140.00), single or double occupancy. Each room has two double beds.
The Ranch will be charging one night's lodging and tax, refundable prior to 48 hours before the workshop on 06 Feb 05. We will be working on a couple of countdown clocks related to member commitments and reservations. If we can't maintain our ten-room minimum through 15 Nov 04 (primarily for attendees from outside the US to make early flight arrangements), we will seriously consider canceling the event officially with the Ranch on 1 Dec 04, with no room deposits forfeited. If we maintain the ten-room minimum up to 01 Jan 05, we'll proceed on the assumption that the workshop is a go. All members should have their reservations made by this date (on January 6, the Ranch will release all unreserved rooms), and then the last clock counts down to being able to cancel reservations up to that 48 hours before 06 Feb 05. If for some bizarre reason the number of room reservations collapses to below 10 at the last moment, we will have to formulate some Plan B, which we do not have at this time, but should have soon.
Those who do not wish to stay at the Ranch have other options, such as camping; see this page and this page for general information on Death Valley. A Google search for "death valley" will provide many interesting links.
We are charging a $100.00 fee per member at this time to help defray the costs of putting on the event, including possible equipment rentals, snacks, potables, and other miscellaneous necessities for the trips into Death Valley National Park. Workshop application packets will be sent to all current "Good-to-Go" attendees as well as the "Maybes." Anyone not on either list wanting an application can request one by emailing your coordinator.
If paying with U.S. Dollars (U.S. and European members): Payments should be sent To IAAA Treasurer Beth Avary no later than 01 Dec 04, with checks made out to IAAA. Applications (email or paper) should be sent to Rick Sternbach (see Contact below).
If paying with sterling (U.K. members): Payments should be sent to IAAA European Vice President David A. Hardy, made out to IAAA, 56 pounds sterling. The exchange rate can be found on XE.com. Applications (email or paper) should be sent to Rick Sternbach.
David A. Hardy
In the event there are funds left over at the end of the workshop, they will be distributed equally among the attendees. Instructions will also be in the workshop application packet now being assembled.
We're working on an itinerary, which is likely to be highly fluid, so even if we nail one here on this web page, things may change when we get to DV. We'll be exploring Death Valley National Park in much the same way we did 21+ years ago during the two-week 1983 workshop. We'll be traveling to places like Ubehebe Crater, Devil's Golf Course, Mars Hill, and the Stovepipe Wells sand dunes. Death Valley affords us a number of extraterrestrial analogues for photographing, sketching, and painting. In workshops past, we've had excellent discussions and mini-lectures from such members as Dr. William K. Hartmann, noted planetary astronomer and author. Each IAAA member artist has something valuable to contribute to the workshop process in their knowledge of art, geology, astronomy, and space exploration.
We're hoping to coordinate with planetary scientist Dr. Chris McKay of NASA Ames, who often conducts field trips to Death Valley. We're also hoping to get a visit from former NASA educator Don Scott, also a former ranger and a student of the travels of Lewis and Clark.
Based on a preliminary poll of members who will have vehicles, we seem to be in good shape for transport and may not need to rent a van.
We'll also have discussion, presentation, and critique time back at the Ranch and the nearby Inn. We're renting a meeting room at the Inn for the seven days of the workshop, and it's equipped with chairs and a projection screen. We're looking into rental of a digital projector, as a number of members will be bringing DV-capable laptops (that's digital video, not Death Valley). We can also play DVDs in the evenings; Bob Kline has offered to screen ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS, a classic SF film partially shot in Death Valley in the early 1960s.
Early on in the discussions about this workshop, there was talk about mounting an art exhibition. If anyone has ideas about showing off originals and/or prints, let's hear them. Your coordinator will be looking into whether there are any galleries local to the DV area; if that isn't an option, we might talk with the Ranch/Inn folks about exhibiting our art. If there's a chance we might become mired in security and insurance and physical art hanging issues, we'll likely squash that idea and limit showing off our work to just amongst ourselves.
Note: The meeting room may be used for doing art; that is, sketching, painting, etc. However, since it is a hotel meeting room and not designed for typical studio activities, the Ranch management wants us to make absolutely certain that paints and water and any other potentially staining media don't end up on their walls and floors. We will assess the possibility of laying down tarp material for anyone who will be painting back at the meeting room. We're responsible for damages. The Ranch does suggest that the patios outside the guest rooms might be places to paint; tarps or other plastic sheeting will also be helpful in keeping those patios clean.
Nighttime will provide us with dark skies and the opportunity to do some stargazing. We'll be talking with the Ranch and the NPS folks about the best sites. We don't have an exact count yet, but we're assured that some members will be bringing telescopes. Your coordinator will at least be hauling up a "manual" 8" Meade SCT and its tripod. Joel Hagen writes: "I checked Feb 7 on "Starry Night" and we'll be moon-free all night that week... should be great for deep sky. Saturn will be at zenith and Jupiter rising around midnight. There is an interesting guy up here who has an amazing array of portable astro-gear. He might find it interesting to bring his trailer down to join us for an evening of observing if we discussed it a bit in advance. No hurry at all on that... just letting you know some possibilities to think about. His friend might well be up for bringing down his 16" Meade SCT also. If we did that, we might consider them in the same vein as McKay or others who are not actually attending the entire workshop, but are coming in to enhance some of our activities..."
Note: Death Valley was hit by destructive flash floods in the last few months, washing out some roads and breaking water mains, but we are assured that all will hopefully be back to normal by the time February rolls around.
At the moment, the list of things you might really, really have to bring or acquire once in Furnace Creek is pretty small. Sunblock and water will be important parts of any field trips, so plan on having a lot of those. Maps will be essential. A communication device such as a cell phone will be handy; we're also looking into a couple of short-range walkie-talkie type radios. Please add your ideas to the general IAAA email group list (include "Death Valley" in the subject line) or
We can always use help with planning field trips and evening presentations, coordinating transport once in DV, and various other areas of workshop operations. There will be places on the application to indicate your areas of interest. We'll certainly keep the whole event as hassle-free and fun as possible, but there will still be some admin and planning to do so that we don't all get to the Ranch and say "Okay, what do we do now?"
We've mentioned ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS as a film to watch some evening; other fun bits will be listed here as we think of them. Bob Kline has clarified that he made a DVD-R from an LD.
This section is for various suggestions, ideas, unclassifiable news bits, etc. contributed by members.
• Joel Hagen has suggested that artists bring along items to barter or otherwise in a Death Valley "trading post."
Your main contact is PULSAR editor Rick Sternbach. with any questions or ideas. You can also write to:
You can also call me at (818) 761-7768 9am-10pm Pacific Time.
Last modified: Whenever the latest news date at top says it was. :)