* art by Vann Nguyen

There are ‘staple weekends’ in the desert that I look forward to every year.  As you can imagine, one of them is Coachella Fest weekend(s) …. and the other (a little more under-the-radar) one is the HWY 62 Art Tours weekend(s).  Both offer a rich arts & culture experience, however, they couldn’t be any further apart in terms of what you see, hear, learn and walk away with.

The HWY 62 Art Tour is like an old pirate’s treasure map to gold… ‘X’ marks the spot.  But, instead of an island to explore, you have the stunning High Desert to navigate through.  And although the land is wide, the skies are open, and the views stretch far and wide… there are many things that simply can not been seen from a car ride down Hwy 62.

The HWY 62 Art Tours features over 200 artists who open up the doors to their creative spaces and allow people to explore their fantasy world’s for a weekend.  With a map in one hand and the other on the steering wheel (and both eye’s on the road, at all times, of course), you follow the directions to each open art studio.  Many of them take you down long dirt roads, twisting and turning you around bushes, cacti, mountain ridges and rocks… until you reach your newfound pot of gold.


Once you arrive at the artist’s studio you meet and greet, and then you get to walk around.  You observe their space, see what inspires and influences them.  Personally, that just excites me right there!  Artist’s work spaces are always pretty cool places.  Right?!

When I come across an artist that I connect with it is easy to engage in conversation with them.  You can learn all about their past, how they make their pieces and what they are currently working on.  Simply put, an art and culture blogger’s dream scenario.

One of the best things about these art tours is that there is no overhead when you purchase a piece.  The money goes from your hand, to theirs.

However, everybody has their very own unique experience.  You pick your own path for the day, there is nobody there guiding your down streets or telling which way to go.  It’s great.  It’s also something similar to what they call, “desert wandering.”  😉

I highly recommend that you pack your car full of friends, water and road snacks and get yourself up  to the High Desert this weekend.  And for all those who can’t make it this weekend… the Art Tours continue on next weekend as well!!

**Make sure to read all the information below for more details.  All information has been extracted from http://www.hwy62arttours.com/




A Brief History of the Art Tours:

Conceived in 2001 as a festival for all the arts, with 24 participating artists, the Hwy 62 Art Tours now features close to 200, including those working in music, literary, performance and visual arts.

For the tenth anniversary, Art Tours organizers have put together an ambitious program to showcase a variety of the arts in the Morongo Basin.

“Open Studios” are still the main feature. A steadily growing number of artists open their homes and studios to an ever-expanding public. Each reflects the unlikely growth of the arts in this remote desert community.

Along with the growing Art Tours, this past decade has seen the rise of a thriving arts community, where cultural events occur year-round. Hwy 62 Art Tours is the premiere arts event of the year in this unique place, when the local community welcomes the world to have a look.




Joshua Tree + 29 Palms + Wonder Valley’s Open Studios

OCT 27 – 28, 2011
9-5pm unless other wise noted.



2ND Weekend Oct. 27-28

Eames Demetrios
Karine Swenson
Scott Doten
Noah Purifoy (Desert Art Museum-Sue Welsh, Trustee)
Lisa Starr 
Cheryl Kandel
Jennifer Palmer-Lacy
Anahita King
Coco Hall
Bobby Furst

Julianne Koza
Drew Reese

Eva Montville
Marya Fields

Janis Commentz
Marjorie Franklin

Cree Rivera
Joan Vangieri

*BOTH Weekends Open Oct 20-21 + Oct 27-28

*Simi Dabah
*Diana Durr
*Mark Doolittle 
*Flash Emery 
*Michael Smiley
*Judy Wold
*Lacasa Grande Art Site

*Ellen Hill
*Cynthia Cox
*Kris Jennings
*Cliff Jennings
*Wally Pacholka
 – 2nd weekend only

*Vera Topinka
*David McChesney

*Elizabeth Greene
*Ellie Tyler
*Virginia Akin
*Vallerie Davis


2ND Weekend Oct. 27-28

Jacqueline Angove
Chuck Caplinger

Allen Barter
Mita Barter

Roberta Blomster
Helen Matoush


2ND Weekend Oct. 27-28

Kristina Robbins
Perry Hoffman
Mikal Winn

Suzanne Dellinger
Nora Hunter
Michael Eiden 

Lorelei Greene
David Greene

Mayah Martin
Olive Toscani

Robin Anaya
Keri Waldrop

*Both Weekends Oct. 20-21 + 27-28
*Robert Arnett


HWY 62 Art Tour’s Site Specific Locations

The Integratron

Desert Christ Park

High Desert Test Site Headquarters

Noah Purifoy Foundation

Simi Dabah

World Famous Crochet Museum


Beauty Bubble Museum

The Palms



HWY 62 Art Tours Special Events



ZICRON Kids Circus

$5 for kids (15 and under)
$15 for adults

Featuring artwork by Lisa Bruner

Location: 62929 Sunny Sands Drive,
Joshua Tree, CA 92252


The Art Tours Collective Show 
Twentynine Palms Art Gallery

74055 Cottonwood Drive,
12:00 – 3:00 pm September 26 – October 28.

Artwork by Art Tours artists will be displayed and made for sale.
The gallery will hold regular hours through October 28.

Gallery hours: Wednesday through Sunday, from 12:00 – 3:00 pm.

During the East end weekend, (Oct. 27-28) the gallery
will be open from 9:00 am-5:00 pm

For More Information:

Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council
61325 29 Palms Hwy # F
Joshua Tree, CA 92252-1912
(760) 366-2226




 * * * * 

Also, while you’re up there, make sure to stop by the Cactus Mart in Morongo Valley!  It’s the happiest place on earth…or at least in the Coachella Valley.