We bid adieu to Marta Becket


Collage of images of Marta Beckett displayed on a table top in the Amaragosa Cafe.

An artist stranded in Death Valley stayed
To paint and dance her way on starry skies
And brought new life peaks through her art and dance
By sharing wellsprings deep within her soul

We were saddened to hear of the recent passing of Marta Becket, the woman who created a wellspring in the desert of Death Valley Junction and called it the Amaragosa Opera House.

Marta’s story is an inspirational one– As a traveling dancer from New York, in 1967  she and her husband were camping in Death Valley National Park when their trailer got  a flat tire.  To get it repaired, they were directed to Death Valley Junction, a tiny desert community  just outside the park.  The town was once a Borax mining station and though not considered a ghost town, it was sparsely populated. While waiting for the tire to get fixed, Marta explored the old adobe buildings there and discovered an old abandoned theater.

“Peering through the tiny hole, I had the distinct feeling that I was looking at the other half of myself. The building seemed to be saying…..Take me…..do something with me…I offer you life”  To Dance on Sands: The Life and Art of Death Valley’s Marta Becket

She and her husband stayed and restored the building to hold her performances there. She painted an  audience on the walls inside the  theater, and other beautiful artwork on the ceiling. The opera house became famous and people from all over the world came to see the opera house and her performances.

We recently visited there! — the eve of this past New Year’s Eve– to film inside the opera house and around Death Valley Junction.   We’re producing a piece on the Amaragosa Opera House for our Finding Beauty in Dry Places segment– coming soon!   We’ll be sharing beautiful imagery and an amazing story encompassing the history of this remote, desert area!

(Inside the Amaragosa Opera House)

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