Tips for finding your creativity on the Art Desert Highway


The Joshua Tree area – which includes the towns of Joshua Tree, Yucca Valley, Landers, Wonder Valley, and environs – has long been home to an eclectic, prolific, and constantly evolving community of artists and independent creative explorers. The area’s visionary cultural bent finds expression in everything from land art and open-air installations to maker boutiques, craftspeople, architectural confections, gallery spaces, artist residency projects, and many more unconventional, undefinable offerings.

Shari Elf’s Art Queen & World Famous Crochet Museum is one of the most recognizable artsy landmarks in the region. The intimate architectural entropy, mixed media installations, enchanted doll trailer, and hand-embellished slow-fashion boutique compound are surrounded by other favorite local art destinations. This micro-arts district includes La Matadora Gallery, The Station’s quirky souvenir site in a vintage gas station and garage, Space Cowboy Bookstore, and more.

Objects are at the center of La Matadora, which was founded by Colleena Hake in summer . The program embraces the ornate, gothic, folkloric rococo of ritualistic found-object assemblage, as though all the world were an altar being built. Their current (through December exhibition Holy Relic features work by artists Alea Bone and Shrine – two artists who each elevate the choreography of found-object arrangement to fresh heights of spirit-infused, meaningful mosaic. Hey There Projects was founded in by artists, friends, locals, and sometime Angelenos Mark Todd and Aaron Smith, with the simple goal to showcase emerging artists in a variety of media.

The store offers a retail space which features folk art, books, zines, wearables, collectibles, ceramics, and sundry “desert lifestyle supplies” like candles. They are currently exhibiting a two-person show featuring new portrait-based works and sculptures by Ryan Heshka and Rob Sato; next up is the annual print show in December.

The Sky Village Swap Meet is a true wonderland, with a wide variety of vintage, estate, tag sale, salvage, and curiosity sales, as well as several slightly inexplicable, quasi-immersive, extremely photogenic architectural concoctions. A giant chicken, a faux stained glass citadel, a handmade crystal cave, some last chance saloon-type Dada, and weathered wagon wheels are just some of the many attractions at this one-of-a-kind market. You’re sure to find some great bargains on estate china, handmade jewelry, and other treasures.

The e Retreat Center; the Palms Art Gallery is still thriving and continues to offer community-based arts and education programming; and the Yucca Valley Art Center which was forced to close during covid has reopened post-pandemic as the Joshua Tree Gallery of Contemporary Art and is presenting some really interesting local and international programs. Heading north up toward Landers, the internationally known mecca of sound-frequency based chakra alignment, ley line-enhanced waters, and extraterrestrial wisdom that is the Integratron is still functioning as intended.

The moral

The Sky Village Swap Meet is a great place to find bargains on vintage and estate items, as well as salvage and curiosity items. The market also features several slightly inexplicable, quasi-immersive, extremely photogenic architectural concoctions, including a giant chicken, a faux stained glass citadel, and a handmade crystal cave.


Hakan Author

This is my favourite website. I hope it is your favourite too.