The American West has inspired artists, writers, entrepreneurs, and conservationists to explore, exploit, embroider and preserve its romance and realities. Through distinguished observers and chroniclers of the region, Imagining the West examines its pioneering spirit, sublime landscapes, and unique social and ecological challenges.




Performance | Okee Dokee Brothers
Sun, March 5, 2:30pm
Bing Concert Hall

Their Grammy-nominated children's album, Saddle Up, trots happily through the American West. 

Info & Tickets

Performance | The Colorado
Fri & Sat, Apr 21 & 22, 7:30pm
Bing Concert Hall

Featuring new compositions for a multimedia performance, The Colorado is a stunning, prismatic view of a natural treasure and how best to steward its resources.

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Public Talk | Conversation with Pete McBride
Fri, Apr 21, 6:00pm
Bing Concert Hall

National Geographic's Pete McBride joins us at the Bing with opening remarks by Stanford professor David Kennedy.

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Public Talk | Composing the American West
Wed, Apr 19, 6:00pm
McMurtry Building, Oshman Hall

Music scholar Beth Levy (U.C. Davis) explores how the American West has animated the works of iconic American composers such as Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, and Virgil Thompson.

Free Event



Suggested Reading

The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons by John Wesley Powell

The American West as Living Space by Wallace Stegner 

Frontier Figures: American Music and the Mythology of the American West by Beth Levy 

A Great Aridness by William De Buys 

The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness by Rebecca Solnit 


Online Resources

Bill Lane Center for the American West

Woods Institute for the Environment

Peninsula Open Space Trust

National Geographic on The Colorado River