In Historic Death Valley Junction,
Marta Becket's Legacy Lives On

Celebrating the artist who discovered her creative life in the California desert

Marta Becket
August 9, 1924 – January 30, 2017

Ferociously committed to her vision and her art, Marta's legacy offers inspiration to all dreamers and seekers: Follow your heart and you will realize the adventure that your life was meant to live.

Imagine discovering the little theater in disrepair in a dusty town seemingly in the middle of nowhere on a spring afternoon in 1967. The theatre had been silently waiting for her and her alone.

Most of the articles about Marta’s serendipitous journey recall that fateful day when she peeked through the hole in the door at the back of the social hall of the adobe building in Death Valley Junction. When Marta returned with her husband later in 1967, their belongings in tow, she must’ve felt an incredible amount of excitement. An opportunity of a lifetime had presented itself where everything she had learned, created, and experienced, brought her to this point. She had found her raison d’etre.

There are many stories and rumors about Marta and her life in Death Valley Junction. Many visitors to the Junction nowadays recall an interaction with Marta or fondly recount seeing her perform in her Opera House. She was a steadfast beacon of creativity in a place that is often seen as devoid of any source of nourishment. But to those who realize that the desert offers so much life, it is no surprise that a ballet dancer from New York City was doing the most creative work of her life out here. Marta often painted herself as the dust devil, a ghostly figure spiralling up out of nowhere, lingering in the soft desert light. Her spirit is eternal.

The space in the Opera House feels sacred and many who have entered its realm can feel Marta’s creative force and are inspired. She was a prolific creator who lived to produce her art.

Since Marta’s passing, the non-profit that she created is doing much to continue the preservation of Death Valley Junction. This includes scheduling a varied and robust performance season and maintenance and restoration of the buildings (the adobe walls, upgrades for electrical and plumbing and the irreplaceable murals that Marta painted both in the Opera House and throughout the hotel.

The Marta Becket Online Reader

National Geographic

Marta shares her tale of discovering Death Valley Junction in a January 1970 National Geographic story.

Becket’s saga a tale of survival

"In some way, the visions of Becket the artist have become larger than the woman. It's become a phenomenon of international proportions."

Last Song in Death Valley Junction

"For her final show, Marta decides not to perform a single opera, as she would have on a typical night, and opts instead to perform her favorite songs from the ones she’s written while in Death Valley."

New York Times

"While you have time left, find a place where you can live out your dreams. Even if it is on top of a mountain or in the middle of a desert."

Thank you for visiting! We look forward to hosting your next desert adventure!

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