October 21, 2009

HWY 62 Art Tours start Saturday

By Kurt Schauppner
The Desert Trail

MORONGO BASIN — Art and artists will once again be the focus of attention in the Morongo Basin in late October and early November as the open studio art tours, redubbed the HWY 62 Art Tours, return, thanks in part to the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council.

“We are trying to make this more recognizable,” Twentynine Palms artist Mita Barter said of the tour’s name change. “A lot of people from out of the area don’t know where the Morongo Basin is.”

A lot of them, however, do know where Highway 62, also known as Twentynine Palms Highway, can be found.

“It is the artery of the Morongo Basin. We like to think of it as the ARTery of the Morongo Basin. It is the road that connects us all,” Barter said, comparing Twentyine Palms Highway to Route 66. “This is our mother road.”

The tours, giving residents and visitors a chance to visit local artists in their studios, will visit the west side of the Morongo Basin, including Yucca Valley, Morongo Valley, Pioneertown, Flamingo Heights, Landers and Joshua Tree, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 24 and 25.

Venues during the first weekend will include the Purple Agave Art Gallery, Water Canyon Coffee Company, the Wishbone Gallery and the Integratron

Tours will take place in the east side of the Morongo Basin, including Joshua Tree, Twentynine Palms and Wonder Valley, the next weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

Venues during the second weekend will include the Morongo Basin Life Drawing League, 29 Palms Creative Center and Gallery, 29 Palms Art Gallery and the Wonder Valley Labyrinth.

Some venues, including the Hi-Desert Nature Museum, the Red Arrow Gallery, Crossroads Cafe, Studio Godot and True World Gallery, will take part in the tour on both weekends.

Something new for this year’s tours will be a music component, with musicians playing at many of the studios on the tour with help from local musician and sound engineer Ted Quinn.

Maps to each of the tour venues will be available at the Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce, 56711 Twentynine Palms Highway, the Joshua Tree Chamber of Commerce, 61325 Twentynine Palms Highway, and the Twentynine Palms Chamber of Commerce, 73660 Civic Center Drive, and in the Hi-Desert Star and Desert Trail.

Tour participants will also have the opportunity to purchase full-color programs for $10 online at www.hwy62arttours.com.

The two-weekend event will also see a celebration of Joshua Tree National Park’s 15th anniversary as a national park from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 24 and 25 at the Starlite Courtyard in downtown Joshua Tree.

The entrance is between Instant Karma Yoga and the True World Gallery.

Admission is free.

Live music will be played all day and beer and wine will be served after 5 p.m.

Food and beverage vendors will be on hand, or participants are invited to bring takeout from one of the local restaurants.

If you go;

What: HWY 62 Art Tours

When: Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 24, 25 and 31 and Nov. 1

Where: Artists studios around the Morongo Basin

Information: http://www.hwy62arttours.com/