Escalante Canyons Art Festival / Everett Ruess Days
In 1934, young poet-artist Everett Ruess left the small town of Escalante, Utah, to “follow . . . the sweeping way of the wind” into the nearby deserts and canyons. A few months later his burros were found grazing peacefully in a box canyon, but he would never be seen again.
The disappearance of Ruess created enduring myth and mystery. Although he was only 20 years old, Ruess’s writings about the area now known as Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument reveal a devout union between artist and place.
Known for his gregarious ways, Ruess befriended artists such as Maynard Dixon, Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Dorthea Lange. Ruess left behind his own body of art—woodcuts, drawings, poetry, and other writings—inspired by the wilderness he traveled through.
Ruess also left indelible memories among the residents of small towns and Navajo communities he visited. Escalante, Utah, would be his last stop before his ethereal walk into a deep rock canyon called Davis Gulch, where he mysteriously disappeared.
“Working Arts Festival” inspired by Everett Ruess
To celebrate the life and work of this enigmatic artist – local business people, caring citizens and artists, with the help of top Ruess aficionados, have organized the Escalante Canyons Art Festival/Everett Ruess Days. The Non-Profit Organizations Envision Escalante and Escalante Canyons Group for Arts and Humanities and other supporters present this “Working Arts Festival” as a premiere art and literary gathering with the aim of welcoming people to the stunning landscapes surrounding this area of Utah and giving attendees an opportunity to learn some of its rich history. We invite Utah and the world to come and experience the intense beauty in and around the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Everett’s spirit of adventure touches a special creative desire in all of us as we seek to express, as he did, our response to the rugged landscape and mystery of the Escalante Canyons and Red Rock Country.