Art Movement Quietly Builds Momentum in the Desert

First Fridays High Desert

First Fridays is one element of an art and music movement that is quietly gaining momentum throughout the High Desert. Art galleries, healing art centers, music events, and stage acts are creating a buzz of excitement in the community as people wake up to what is happening. First Fridays High Desert seeks to introduce the public to local artists, and will eventually offer the High Desert Art Walk and Gallery Row. Led by Simon Gonzales and Artist Life Magazine, his vision is a large street fair for the public’s enjoyment, with live music, street performers, fine artists, vendors and tours of local galleries, either self-guided or on a bus or limo. Gonzales rents gallery space at the Apple Valley Inn, and the next First Fridays take place March 6 and April 3, 6 to 10 p.m. For more information, call Simon at (760) 900-2100. Most artists are driven to use their work to support community values, enhance the environment, transform a landscape, heighten awareness, or question standardized assumptions. You never know what you’ll find in a gallery or at a street fair with artists.  

Other Art galleries located in Apple Valley include Ladies Liberty House of Healing, Cocoon, Thee Marketplace, and Burning House Studio.

Ladies Liberty House of Healing is much more than an art studio or gallery. Yoga instructor and massage therapist Donna Harwick was looking to expand the reach of her healing practice. When several friends developed cancer, she decided to work with non-profit tpsCreative Expressions president Theresa Polley Shellcroft to create a sanctuary for people battling illnesses. A broader mission is to create a climate of support and appreciation for one another, thereby improving the community. There will be a grand opening open house on March 20, from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Call tpsCreative Expressions for more information at (760) 261-7605, or email:, or Donna Harwick at Ladies Liberty at (760) 617-4035. Cocoon is an art gallery and gift shop in the Village area of Apple Valley. This quaint little business is owned by Alejandra Gomer, who has put together an eclectic variety of items that could be a perfect gift for a friend, or to decorate your home with. Visit the shop at 21972 Highway 18, or call (909) 260-0653. Burning House Art Studio owner and art instructor Joan Sowinski loves bringing out the creativity in students and giving artists a place to create and learn. She offers classes and workshop, plus studio hours for artists needing a place to work. Burning House Art Studio is located 14015 Pioneer Road, Apple Valley. Visit, call (760) 247-9000 or on Facebook at Thee High Desert Marketplace is a retail vendor outlet, selling a variety of merchandise such as jewelry, clothing, music, custom framed oil paintings and much more. All merchandise is wholesale priced for an unbeatable savings. It is located at 18375 Outer Hwy. 18 (next to the clock tower) and is open Tues. –Saturday 11:00a.m.-5:00p.m. Wednesday is senior day and savings on Red Hat novelties and Christian bookstore merchandise. Call (760) 240-5157 for more information. We’ve only scratched the surface of the local art market. We’ll be looking at other cities in future editions, or check our website often for more information

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