They’re scattered in the desert sand, a ways back from the road. Mostly, you’d never even notice them as you drive by. Woolly mammoths, sabertooth tigers, a serpent, dinosaurs, and a grasshopper and scorpion so large they must have escaped from a 1950s horror film.
In the Anza-Borrego Desert in southern California, you will find some 140 wild and fascinating creatures. But fear not, they are cast in metal and welcome you to approach. These fantastic larger-than-life sculptures are the creation of Ricardo Breceda. The story goes that he first made a dinosaur for his daughter. Afterward, he met up with the owner of Galleta Meadows Estates in Borrego Springs, Dennis Avery. Avery had had the idea of using his land as an art gallery, so the two seemed destined to meet.
Visitors are welcomed to tour the Galleta Meadows Sky Art project and see the sculptures up close. Sculptures may not be the best way to describe them; statues or installations is probably more accurate.
There are no fences around the artworks. You can touch them and walk all around. They are impressive. Each has unique textures and designs to the metal covering.
It boggles the mind to think of the inspiration and labor that went into each.
The road bisects a mythical serpent
Each stands silent and frozen in time. Though some seem to be crying out, perhaps their last gasp as their species died out. Others stare you down with cold, dark eyes that say, “You walk the earth now, but we too once roamed it, and now we are gone.”
So, what is the point of the Sky Art project?
I think it goes beyond simple public art. Visitors can experience a variety of emotions.
For me, there were connections to the ancient earth and extinct creatures. The stark desert landscape seems a fitting site for them, silent and seemingly otherwise endlessly empty.