LEONARD KNIGHT AND SALVATION MOUNTAIN
(Senate - May 15, 2002)

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[Pages S4383-S4384]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                 LEONARD KNIGHT AND SALVATION MOUNTAIN

 Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, there are areas of the California 
desert near the Salton Sea that can best be described as dry, desolate 
and forlorn. Indeed, there are those who describe the area around 
Niland off Highway 111 as godforsaken. But rising out of this sere, 
super-heated desert is the multi-colored and textured Salvation 
Mountain, a unique and visionary sculpture encompassing five acres. 
Salvation Mountain is Leonard Knight's personal statement on the love 
and the glory of God.
  Leonard Knight, a one-time snow shoveler from Vermont, came to 
Salvation Mountain from the sky. His hot-air balloon crashed into the 
site and he decided to stay, believing the experience to be a sign from 
God. Here he produces his unique creation, using adobe, straw, and 
thousands of gallons of paint to color and reshape the desert 
landscape. Seen from afar, Salvation Mountain is an unlikely mass of 
technicolor shapes and textures. Up close, it is an iridescent fusion 
of doves, clouds, flags, flowers, hearts, streams, biblical messages 
and countless other images.

[[Page S4384]]

  In the last 16 years, Knight's creation has been visited by thousands 
of people from all over the world, artists and art lovers, journalists, 
students on field trips, retirees, newlyweds and just plain curious 
people come by the mountain each day. The Folk Art Society of America 
has declared Salvation Mountain a national folk art shrine. The 
American Visionary Art Museum has embraced Leonard Knight and his 
mountain monument.
  Salvation Mountain is the product of the vision and non-stop labor of 
one dedicated man. Leonard lives alone at the base of the mountain, 
sleeping in a converted school bus that is as colorful as his desert 
creation. He uses paint constantly supplied by visitors, local 
residents and others willing to be a part of this stunning work-in-
progress. He figures that he has used close to 60,000 gallons of 
donated paint over the years.
  American folk art is found in all corners of our nation. Perhaps one 
of the least likely locations would be the desert where Salvation 
Mountain is found. Leonard Knight's artwork is a national treasure, a 
singular sculpture wrought from the desert by a modest, single-minded 
man. It is a sculpture for the ages--profoundly strange and beautifully 
accessible, and worthy of the international acclaim it 
receives.

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