A Retrospective—From founding the first Art Tours to launching the region’s new signature gallery

A Retrospective—From founding the first Art Tours to launching the region’s new signature gallery

HI-DESERT, CA — Celebrating over a half-century of artistic excellence and innovation, the Hi-Desert Cultural Center has been a cornerstone in fostering education and envisioning the future of visual arts for the Joshua Tree National Park region and beyond.  Hailed as the new “Bohemia” and “Mecca” for the arts by the Los Angeles and New York Times, the arts-rich culture enjoyed by our Mojave Desert cities stems from decades of unwavering passion and fortitude by some of our times’ most influential artists and art enthusiasts who had a vision for a better future.

March 1965, Hi-Desert Star

From its inception, the Hi-Desert Cultural Center (a.k.a. Hi-Desert Playhouse Guild, Inc.) has advanced and promoted the visual arts beginning in its early days staging productions in community centers across the desert to holding exhibitions and workshops in the foyer of the former Joshua Tree Cabaret Theatre (currently Sportsman’s Hall near Joshua Tree Community Center).  In 1968, the Cultural Center launched two decades of the area’s first open studio art tours held annually each Fall that featured many prestigious artists, including sculpture and ceramic artist Howard Pierce—best known for his figurines and large public artworks: “Murtle the Turtle” on Turtle Island in downtown Joshua Tree, “Roadrunner” in front of Hi-Desert Cultural Center, “Owls” in front of Yucca Valley Library, and many others.

12th Annual Studio Art Tours, November 1980, Hi-Desert Star

In 1980, Hi-Desert Cultural Center opened a new gallery in Joshua Tree as part of its new multi-venue arts complex, holding innumerable exhibitions, juried shows, workshops, and more.  In 2014, the Cultural Center renewed its Art In Public Places programming and partnered with Hi-Desert Medical Center to open its new “The Art In Healing Galleries” located throughout the hospital campus—focusing on the health and wellness benefits that artwork provides patients and those who care for them.  As the area’s foremost leader with over half a century of educational opportunities and programs provided, in 2015 the Hi-Desert Cultural Center formalized the area’s first comprehensive Arts & Technology Academy—of which its new annex, the Yucca Valley Visual & Performing Arts Center, will serve a vital role in providing expanded state-of-the-art studios and workshop facilities for youth and adult arts and career technical education.

Now, following through on the vision of opening a world-class gallery that sets a new precedent and benchmark for the region, the Hi-Desert Cultural Center’s new Yucca Valley Art Gallery will continue the organization’s long-held tradition of providing only the finest for its communities and those who come to enjoy them.

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