A Journey with Local Programs to Celebrate Steinbeck Milestone

On October 6 and 7, 2013 a group of Texas Panhandle organizations will join the National Steinbeck Center to retrace the fictional journey that "The Grapes of Wrath’s" Joad family took along America’s Route 66 through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona at the height of the Dust Bowl—toward California and their hopes of a better life.

Amarillo College, the Amarillo Museum of Art, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum and Panhandle PBS are teaming up to take part in the journey as a follow up to the 2012 Days of Dust community collaboration on the Dust Bowl, and will provide the following opportunities for Texas Panhandle residents to get involved:

Sunday, October 6th

4:00 – 6:00 p.m.  Amarillo Museum of Art

Reception for “The Journey” at the Amarillo Museum of Art, 2200 S. Van Buren

Free of Charge and Open to the General Public.

The Penguin Book Truck will be open for business to the public during the event.


Monday, October 7th

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon  Panhandle PBS at Amarillo College

Share your story: Oral History Collection at Panhandle PBS, Gilvin Broadcasting Center at 2408 S. Jackson on Amarillo College Washington Street Campus.  Open to general public to share stories on overcoming adversity. RSVP required.  Please call station staff at 371-5222 to reserve your interview time.

1:00 - 6:00 p.m.  Amarillo Museum of Art and Amarillo College

Hands-on printmaking workshop with visual artist Patricia Wakida for adults incorporating theme of overcoming adversity at Amarillo Museum of Art, 2200 S. Van Buren.  Free and open to both Amarillo College students and the general public. Reservations required. Please call museum staff at 371-5050 to reserve participation.

The Penguin Book Truck will be open for business to the public on the Amarillo College Washington Street Campus from 9:00 – 4:00 p.m. on the 7th.  For more information on the book truck, visit http://www.us.penguingroup.com/static/pages/features/penguinbooktruck/index.html 

In addition, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum will be collecting oral histories for this project on October 7th.  These stories will have the same theme, overcoming adversity, and will be included in the documenting of the journey.

Follow up to the Days of Dust Effort

In 2012, Amarillo College, Amarillo Independent School District, Amarillo Museum of Art, Amarillo Public Library, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Panhandle PBS and Region 16 ESC presented Days of Dust - a community exploration of the topic of the Dust Bowl.  Many outcomes from this effort are still available for the Panhandle to explore the Dust Bowl era, including classroom lesson plans, art work explorations, a traveling trunk for area schools, and more.  Those resources may be accessed through www.daysofdust.org


Following the Team

An artistic team – playwright Octavio Solis, visual artist Patricia Wakida and filmmaker P.J. Palmer – will join the Center to collect these oral histories and conduct the printmaking workshop.  They’ll seek to answer to three critical questions inspired by The Grapes of Wrath – What keeps you going?  What do you turn to in hard times?  What brings you joy when times are tough?  The stories collected will inform new exhibitions as part of the 2014 Steinbeck Festival, May 2-4 at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, CA.

The artists will be blogging throughout the Journey, and will invite public collaboration and feedback through multiple social media channels.  The official Journey blog is live at GrapesofWrath75.org. The public is invited to follow along the entire trip at www.Twitter.com/steinbeckcenter, www.Facebook.com/NationalSteinbeckCenter, www.YouTube.com/steinbeckcenter1, and www.Instagram.com/steinbeckcenter.  The National Steinbeck Center’s website is www.steinbeck.org

Local Partners

Amarillo College, the Amarillo Museum of Art, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Panhandle PBS and the National Steinbeck Center are excited to partner in this dynamic Journey.  For more on local partners for this effort, please visit:

Amarillo College   

Amarillo Museum of Art  

Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum  

Panhandle PBS 


About the National Steinbeck Center


The National Steinbeck Center is located at One Main Street in Salinas, California, the birthplace of John Steinbeck.  It is a museum and cultural institution with a mission to engage people in the exploration of culture, issues and the arts relevant to our times, inspired by the words of John Steinbeck.  The Center offers multiple visitor experiences: the John Steinbeck Exhibition Hall and changing art and cultural exhibits with a variety of education and public programs.  For more information about this and other events, visit our website at www.steinbeck.org.


Steinbeck Partners 



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