It's been a little over 3 years since Don Reitz passed away and left behind his hidden gem of a studio out in Sycamore Canyon in Clarkdale, AZ. I spent over 4 years growing up out in the desert. It seems just like yesterday I was waking up to the cows and horses brushing up against my trailer, however, time has passed and there is a start of something new.
Don often spoke, in his later years, of what the property could be. He talked of having artists from all disciplines come and use the property to further their creative energy. The Reitz Ranch could be a place of opportunity and community. He knew he wouldn't have enough time to see through this lengthy endeavor, so instead, he shared his vision with many, most of whom would do anything to help see this idea come to fruition.
After Don's passing in 2014, the ranch was listed for sale with the idea that someone might come along and use the beautiful property the way it was intended. In March 2017, there were rumors that a couple was interested in purchasing the property. The couple wanted to create a community art center where people could come and use the studio, kilns, and property to continue furthering their creative passions. Later that month, the ranch was officially sold to Ted and Sheryl DeVault, and the Reitz Ranch Center for Ceramic Arts was born.
Ted and Sheryl's idea of a community in clay is a perfect marriage to Don's remaining wishes. I am fortunate enough to be able to help contribute to the new direction of the Ranch, from cleaning out studios, to organizing work crews to help the DeVaults with the monumental task of creating a community driven clay center. Don's infrastructure to the property has allowed the center to flourish in its own way and to take on a new look as a community studio.
Last month, the Train Kiln was fired for the first time in four years, and it did not disappoint! Woodkilns are such a great way to gather people. Ted and Sheryl shared their property with the public for the first time during an open house event, encouraging people to experience the Reitz Ranch under its new direction. The Train Kiln was blazing full speed ahead during the opening, and the public was able to see what the property is all about.
I'm incredibly optimistic of the future for the Ranch. I cannot wait to see where things will lead. It's such a special place that I hold near and dear to my heart, and it brings me such joy to be on the ranch once more. Thank you Don, and thank you Ted and Sheryl.
See more at their website by clicking here (http://www.reitzranch.org) - Carrying the legacy of Don Reitz and the ceramic community into the future.