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In November 1934, at age twenty, Everett Ruess disappeared from the rugged canyon country near Escalante, Utah, and was never seen again. Although his burros were found near his camp, his fate remains a mystery. Everett Ruess was an artistic, adventurous young man who set out alone several times to experience the beauty, as well as the fury of nature in the American West. During the 1930s, he met and discussed art with painter Maynard Dixon, and with well-known photographers Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and Dorothea Lange. He was lured first by the splendors of Yosemite and the California coast and later by portions of the lonely Red Rock Country of Utah and Arizona.
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 the 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.