Finding the Beauty in a Service Member’s Return

I Use My Camera to Support the Troops

I’m standing in the reception area of the Fresno airport, and excitement is building. Around me are people of all ages, from two years up to retirement—military families waiting for a loved one to return. The chatter increases. I can hear small gasps and squeaks from those around me. I try to stay calm, though. My camera is at the ready. Today, I’m here on assignment.

My job is to capture the moment when family members are reunited. As I see the uniforms approaching the glass doors leading toward us, …

I Love My Town, So I Want to Help My Neighbors Use Their Gifts

By Singing Together, Stockton, California Can Become Proud of Itself

My hometown of Stockton, California, has a bad reputation, and not without reason. In 2008, we became the biggest U.S. city to declare bankruptcy (Detroit later surpassed us) and got …

Painting En Plein Air

A Group of Visual Artists Comes Together in the Wide-Open Expanses of Joshua Tree

The High Desert Plein Air Artists is an informal group that meets the third Saturday of the month at various locations in and around Joshua Tree National Park.

We …

Fresno Taught Me to Write and Dream

In California's Central Valley, Heat, Exhaust, and Tule Fog Breed Killer Poems

Every once in a while, I remember that I was born on the other side of the world, and it makes sense that I love looking up at the stars. …

Bluegrass Isn’t Just for ‘Toothless Hillbillies’

Bringing the Sounds of Oklahoma to California, the Gifford Family Has Made ‘Banjo Music’ Popular in the Inland Empire and Beyond

“Only toothless hillbillies listen to that banjo music.”

John Gifford heard taunts like this all the time. Growing up in Riverside, a Southern California suburb, in the 1960s and …

Live Performance Will Never Die

Budgets Are Tight and Audiences Are Changing, but Communities Aren’t Going to Stop Expressing Themselves

Community-based arts programs in California’s Inland Empire are facing big challenges today. Funds are diminishing. Audiences are disappearing. So how can small-scale performers and venues survive? And what can Redlands, …