The highlighted art show of this weekend goes to Travis Puglisi’s High Desert H.E.A.R.T..
This is going to be a great art show that is for a great cause. And just to add to that, it’s a at a great place that is going to be filled with great people.
Next questions has to be….. where can I sign up? Right?!
Well, instead of me going on and on about it all, I thought I’d share with you a great interview that I found online about the event.
One of my favorite Mydesert.com bloggers, Kimberly Nichols, recently interviewed Travis Puglisi regarding his big show. She not only drills him on the show, but she digs deeper to get those hard to reach answers about the mystery behind the high desert’s art scene.
Check it out for yourself!

INTERVIEW: Travis Puglisi
Via Kimberly Nichols

“Travis Puglisi Encourages Everyone to have a H.E.A.R.T.”

Why did you decide to put the Haiti relief show on?
I’ve typically worked on one fundraiser a year for the last several years and when my mother was called to go down to Haiti as a Navy Nurse I took that as a message that now was the time to get this year’s benefit event off the ground. Shortly after that I formed a friendship with a woman named Heidi Stiemsma who was between jobs and wanted to fill her time with a Haiti Fundraiser so we teamed up and started rolling immediately. Since I work closely with the art scene in the High Desert I thought that would be my best resource for generating money and put out a call to artists. After some thought and a little Valentines Day inspiration I came up with the name High Desert H.E.A.R.T, the acronym standing for Haiti Earthquake Art Releif Team.
Who are the artists in the show?
I currently have 12 confirmed artists whose work will be up for silent auction at HD H.E.A.R.T. Essentially I’m curating my first group show in a gallery setting, with works representing artists from both the High Desert and Coachella Valley. Some of the Low Desert Artists are Karen Riley who coordinates the S.C.R.A.P Gallery in Indio, Dan Irvine whose offering an incredible anthropomorphic collage done in his style of digital imaging, and we have work coming from the Global Alchemy Forum which is an art and poetry collective located in La Quinta. From the Joshua Tree area we have Diane Best whose landscapes have been generating an absurd amount of attention on both coasts. We’ll also be featuring Calder Feltges, the photography of Kim Stringfellow, and copper sculpture by Davis Murphy. From signer/song writer Tim Easton we have a copy of his latest album, “Porcupine” which was released on vinyl and has a hand painted sleeve. We’ll also be featuring a piece by Bret Philpot who provides a unique bridge between the High and Low Desert, as he’s made both locations his home and is highly regarded no matter what the altitude of his location. For those of you who cruise facebook you’ll be able to find a complete list of our contributing artists along with links and images pertaining to their work.
What about the high desert art scene is unique?
I once heard the desert referred to as a “theater of memory” and for me, the memories are of past and future. The desert is expansive, seeming to stretch in both directions of the temporal spectrum, which lends itself to a profound sense of possibility. So many arrive in the desert to do that certain thing they’ve wanted to do, and so the artists come, find a place to call studio and dodge the rat race mentality. A freedom exists in the space and the art reflects that. The desert also tends to preserve any matter left in it, so mediums often include the sort of detritus left by its inhabitants which has generated an incredible growth in assemblage works and a particular aesthetic that I think is unique to the Mojave. This aesthetic has real bearing on the message of using what’s available, green consciousness, and how we deal with waste in both form and function. Another important element is the mix of new and old models for what art can be. With entities like Burning Man changing art platforms we see this incredible hybrid of traditional and cutting edge, a beautiful mixture of the gallery ethos and the open air/large scale installation format.
What is the community of artists like up there?
This is a tough one to answer, because I wouldn’t necessarily separate the artist community from the general community. Community is the greatest function of the high desert and what I’ve been seeing develop over the last 8 years is an effort amongst progressive thinkers to make the community more sustainable and mutually supportive. For instance, many of the galleries will coordinate to do openings on the same night, which means there are more options for both locals and visitors. The surge in traffic has been great for local restaurants and shops. It’s also difficult to draw a distinction between artists and non because so many people here are really creating their realities through a number of mediums. People up here love to experiment, collaborate, and above all else play. It gives one the feeling that art is constantly in the air, whether you’re standing in a gallery, at the Joshua Tree Music Festival, or driving by somebody’s self made sculpture complex on the edge of the middle of nowhere.
Tell me a little bit about the Red Arrow Gallery where the event will be held.
The original Red Arrow Gallery was created by Timber Woolf Bjork and was located on the west end of Joshua Tree and was so named because of the massive red arrow that was placed outside prior to it being a gallery. It was eventually taken over by Katie Shaw. No matter who’s owned it the Red Arrow was really the first proper gallery in Joshua Tree and has always strove to bring uncensored contemporary works, both home grown and from afar, to our small town. When a new and larger venue became available Katie partnered with Deidra West, a professional landscape artist, and Madeleine Parkhouse to create the latest evolution. Currently its operating solely as a gallery but plans have been submitted and it will soon be transformed into a lounge and wine bar that serves a seasonal menu that will draw primarily from locally grown produce. The Red Arrow Gallery and Lounge just celebrated its three year anniversary with a show called “Prose and Cons” featuring Bret Philpot. This show will still be hanging during the High Desert H.E.A.R.T event.
Tell me about the event this Friday.
High Desert H.E.A.R.T will begin at 6PM at The Arrow Lounge and Gallery in downtown Joshua Tree, look for the illuminated arrow on the south side of the highway as you’re cruising into town. We’re going to be having a silent auction for art and raffle prizes donated by several local businesses like Pappy and Harriets and Lux Pro Dux which is breaking into the realm of raw chocolate desserts and super food cuisine. We’ll also have an espresso bar courtesy of Java GO GO and wine, which will go for a suggested donation. Music will be provided by DJ Muse and one or two special guests. An important thing to note is that everything has been donated, nobody is getting paid, and there are no commissions on any of the pieces.
The money that we generate is going to the Humanitarian Coalition, which consists of Save the Children, CARE, and two branches of OXFAM. Best of all is that the Canadian Gov’t will be matching all funds that go to this organization, so we’re actually doubling the amount of money that we raise.
Does red arrow have a website?
Why did you get involved in the art scene up there and what is your personal connection to Red Arrow?
I had the great fortune of living in Europe for four years and was able to get turned on to traditional gallery and museum art scenes at a fairly young age and when I came to Joshua Tree my fortune was amplified by living in a community where art and music were so integrated into daily life. I quickly learned that working on events was a fantastic way to build new community, educate, and have transformational experience. I realized that art archives all of these objectives and is essential to furthering a peaceful, just, and humane society. And to be honest music and art are fun, and if I’m going to be inspired to work I have to be having fun, otherwise my attention starts to wane.
I became involved with the Red Arrow when it moved to its new location. The trio of incredible women who partnered to create the new incarnation of the The Red Arrow Gallery and Lounge are all dear friends of mine and they asked me to help them with online social networking. I do this for a number of people up here in the high desert, which works for me because I love connecting people with similar sources of inspiration. It can be difficult for people to keep up with the data stream, with so much media flying about, that it can be really helpful to have someone whose focus is to build connections.
What will the prices range from?
I’ve asked all the artists to provide a value that they might normally sell their work for in a gallery setting and will then set the minimum bid for that piece at 50% of that attributed value. Since nobody’s objective is to profit from this event we want to make the art accessible. Even if you can’t afford to bid on an original work that starts at $100 or $300 it doesn’t mean you can’t come or find other ways to support Haiti. Even if you took a cappuccino made by a professional barista and put $3 in the jar that money goes to Haiti aid too. We want to be inclusive and we want to build closer ties between high and low desert art, and we especially want to support the sustainable recovery of Haiti.

High Desert H.E.A.R.T.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Red Arrow Gallery61957 29 Palms Highway
6:00pm – 9:00pm

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