When Marta Becket arrived to Death Valley Junction in 1967, she discovered a decades old building in disrepair. Peering in through a hole in the door of the old social hall, Marta was hypnotized by a prophetic vision – DVJ was her destiny. The space seemed to be alive as it breathed: “Take me. Do something with me. I offer you life.” For the next fifty years, Marta answered that call, breathing life into Death Valley Junction, sharing her unique culture and art with anyone who might happen into this former borax-mining town. She gave new life and meaning to a once thriving mining operation that was essential to the shaping of the American West.
A hallmark of Marta’s character is resiliency. Her art triumphed over adversity with an arsenal of paint-brushes, ballet slippers and dramatic performances from the day she discovered Death Valley Junction to her “final bow” in 2017.
The opera house still proudly boasts her colorful murals as we (the non-profit organization) continue to bring a rich and diverse group of performers every year from October to May. As recently as February, a sold out crowd from all over the world packed in to celebrate the 52ndanniversary of her opening performance, honoring her legacy with a night of dance, video and music. People stayed up into the night reminiscing about what has become a meaningful place of inspiration and destiny. Only months before, early this season, we presented the first annual event celebrating the history of Death Valley Junction. People who resided here as early as 1931 took to the stage and shared their stories from a largely undocumented period of this old Mojave outpost. We hope to bring you more of these events in the future.
It is now May of 2020 and the hotel, café and opera house have been closed for nearly two months. As business has halted, our wonderful and dedicated staff has been temporarily left without jobs and all income has ceased.
We acknowledge all of our friends and the countless small businesses around the world that create the community and culture we all long for. So many places, people and organizations are struggling and are in need. If you are in any position to help us financially or just to share this message with others, we will be extremely grateful for your help in getting us over this temporary hurdle.
Any donation to this campaign will contribute to the cash resources needed to address the immediate future. Our expenses run between $5,000 - $6,000 per month (including utilities, taxes, insurance, supplies, limited payroll, etc.). The painful reality is that since closure, we have been forced to use very limited reserve funds, which will run out shortly.
At stake is the potential permanent closure of this oasis in the desert where patrons from around the world have come to enjoy and celebrate Marta and the town of Death Valley Junction.
Death Valley Junction and its ever-changing story has been an inspiration to so many, and we hope to continue to inspire great artists and lovers of the desert in the future.
On behalf of Marta Becket and her inextinguishable and resilient spirit, thank you for your generosity.
President, Board of Directors
Amargosa Opera House, Inc.