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Rest in Peace, Leonard

For almost thirty years, Leonard Knight applied brightly colored adobe to this three-story mountainside in the

ca501knightfoster065Leonard Knight in 1997 (Courtesy of Robert Foster)

California desert, forming flowers, waterfalls, and rivers to enhance biblical verses that proclaimed his message “God is Love.” Hay bales, tree trunks, and various found objects were also covered with candy-colored adobe, forming a complex and compelling masterpiece. He welcomed all comers, and despite his spiritual message, resisted being pigeon-holed by organized religious groups. Initially decried as an environmental hazard and an unauthorized use of state land, in 2002 it was entered into the Congressional Record as a National Treasure.

In December 2011, Knight was moved to an assisted living facility near San Diego, and on February 10, 2014, he passed away. He was 82.

Even before his departure from the mountain, Knight had not been addressing ongoing conservation needs with as much energy and attention as earlier; numerous cracks and peeling, fading paint now mar the Mountain’s impact. After Knight was no longer in residence, an ad-hoc group of supporters, drawn in part from his neighbors at Slab City, formed a nonprofit organization with the hope of preserving Knight’s masterpiece for future generations, but there remain unanswered ownership questions as well as significant security and stability challenges. Nevertheless, the site remains open, and volunteers are working to ensure its survival in the immediate future.



Browse Blog Archives by Month
Highlights

Act Now: Save The Last Resort - A Working Model of Sustainability in Marin County, CA
Take Action, Threatened Environments

Conservator-in-Residence Position, Hartman Rock Garden - Ohio
Preservation News

SPACES Honors Watts Towers Committee Founding Member Jeanne Smith Morgan on her 90th Birthday!
Preservation News, SPACES News

Remembering Josep Pujiula i Vila (1937-2016)
Self-Taught Arts in the News

Dispatch from the Field: Jo Farb Hernández in Spain
SPACES News

Materializing the Bible. by James S. Bielo (Miami University)
Gardens, Religious, Devotional & Spiritual

Call to Action: Preserve Grandma Prisbrey's Bottle Village in California
Threatened Environments

Mr. Imagination exhibit at Intuit named one of 10 best in the United States
Self-Taught Arts in the News

SPACES Director to Present Singular Spaces at Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museum
SPACES News

Margaret’s Grocery listed as one of Mississippi’s Historic Trust’s 10 Most Endangered Properties!
Preservation News, Threatened Environments

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