Wednesday, June 9, 2010

29 Palms Creative Center

One of the stops on this year's Highway 62 Art Tours is the 29 Palms Creative CenterGretchen Grunt is the owner of the Creative Center, and she is a printmaker, bookmaker and art educator.  For this year's art tours, she is hoping to focus more on altered books and bookmaking than she has in years past.  Many of the creative- minded people here in the high desert have taken a class from Gretchen.  Gretchen has been living in 29 Palms for the past seven years, and has served as a board member for the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council in past years.  If you stop by the Creative Center on this year's tours, you will have a chance to visit Ms. Grunt and see her fantastic studio.  You may even get to create some art of your own.

Showing in the studios behind the main building of the Creative Center are two other artists on this year's tours.  Many people are familiar with the jewelry of Mikal Winn, who has sold his jewelry to many top stores, including Fred Segal and Neiman Marcus.  What you may not know about Mikal is that he also does larger sculpture, in the form of glittering, fantastic animals.  Winn says that creating these animals is something he has dreamed about for a long time, and has now finally had a chance to see his dream to fruition.  These creatures deck the walls of Winn's studio.  Mikal has been in the high desert for about nine years.  He came here from Columbus, Ohio by way of a short stint in Los Angeles.  The sculptures are heavily inspired by his childhood experiences of growing up on a farm.  He says they are meant to be playful, drawing ideas from the fantasy world of the movies and books of his childhood.    

The third artist you will have the pleasure of meeting at this venue is Anna Houghton, a single mom.  Ms. Houghton works in acrylic, watercolor, silkscreen and does beadwork.  She loves to experiment and is always trying a new medium.  Houghton grew up in the desert, graduating from 29 Palms High School.  She did spend time away from the high desert, even living on the island of Maui for a few years.  Her two children keep her busy, but are also sources of inspiration for her.  Anna will often help out with the children of the area, teaching charcoal drawing.  Houghton hopes to have a new series of larger, non-representational paintings for the Art Tours similar to the one shown here.

There is no doubt that the 29 Palms Creative Center is a place worth visiting on your tour this year.  The Creative Center will be on the first weekend of the Art Tours.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the Hwy. 62 Art Tours, it takes place the last two weekends in October every year.  This year, we are highlighting the artists who will be on the tour, so you can have a "sneak peak" into the studios of the talented artists of the high desert.   Stay tuned for more visits!

written by Karine Swenson

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