Sierra Art Trails Community Awards

Each year,  Sierra Art Trails presents community awards to schools, organizations, businesses, and individuals who support the arts.

The awards we present are determined by our annual revenue.  After our expenses are paid, and a seed budget has been set aside for the following year, the balance is donated to worthy organizations, school programs, or individuals.  The more successful we are, the more we can give back each year. Since 2003 we have presented over $24,000 in community awards.  These moneys are raised through artist fees, donations, catalog advertising, and our annual fundraising efforts.

For more information, or to make a donation call 559-658-8844 or email:

To donate via Paypal, click the Donate button below. Any amount is appreciated. Sponsors receive special benefits based on their level of sponsorship.

 to Sierra Art Trails

The Keeper of the Flame

Keeper of the Flame Award PhotoThe Keeper of the Flame Award was inspired by the idea that the arts benefit and enhance our lives, our communities, and our culture on a fundamental level. The award is presented annually to a business or organization in recognition of their contributions to the arts and the creative community.  The Keeper of the Flame is not a cash award.  The “Flame” a welded steel sculpture donated by Fresno artist Chris Sorensen in 2004, is passed on year to year as a symbol of commitment and dedication to supporting the arts in our area.

Since 2007 the award has been presented to; Sixth Street Cinema in Mariposa, Yosemite Western Artists, Timberline Gallery, Madera County Arts Council, Golden Chain Theater, Mariposa County Arts Council, the Children’s Museum of the Sierra, Sorensen Studio Gallery, Visit Yosemite Madera County, Allard’s Art Supplies in Fresno, Janet and Rick Flores and KFCF 88.1 FM Free Speech Radio in Fresno, Branches Books in Oakhurst, Donald Munro – arts journalist and host of the Munro Review, and Carolyn Hartling – artist.

2022 Recipient – We are proud to present the 2022 Keeper of the Flame award to Franka Mlikota Gabler.

Franka M. Gabler is an award-winning photographer, scientist and significant part of our art community. She has a passion for her career and her photography, always giving 100% to the tasks she takes on. She is a member of Stellar Gallery in Oakhurst, Spectrum Gallery in Fresno, and Yosemite Sierra Artists. As a board member for Sierra Art Trails, she is responsible for the design and layout of the annual Sierra Art Trails catalog, a monumental task.

Franka spends free time photographing the California Sierra Nevada, the California Coast, and wherever else her travels take her.  Her photographs are awe-inspiring, intuitive, poetic interpretations of nature’s magic. Franka developed a fascination, admiration, and respect for nature early in life. Expressing the mood and capturing the essence of the scene is what she strives for in her photography.

She is kind to all, gracious, and a delight to know. Our community would not be the same without her.

Congratulations Franka M. Gabler!

CLICK HERE to learn more about past recipients of “the Keeper of the Flame” award.

Chris Welding Photo
Chris Sorenson Welding – Photograph © 2015 Kerby Smith