Arts Connection, saw the call and reached out to Mil-tree, an arts-based, veterans and community organization in Joshua Tree, California with a similar mission. Together, they enlisted the help of numerous other non-profits and developed a project that would offer opportunities for everything from hiking and environmental work, to paper-making, writing and life casting. Together with their partners (including Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave Desert Land Trust, 29 Palms Art Gallery, KVCR, and Radio Free Joshua Tree) they were awarded a $10,000 grant to see their proposal to fruition.
Slated to begin in early 2016 the first phase of the project will involve the removal of invasive plants under the leadership of Joshua Tree National Park vegetation management's team, with support from Mojave Desert Land Trust. Artists Denise Kraemer and Cathy Allen will then guide participants in transforming the plant material into pulp and paper, and lead subsequent workshops for veterans to develop 2 and 3 dimensional works. Silkscreening will also be offered by artist/activist Duan Kellum.
Concurrently, Leilani Squires and Louise Mathias will be guiding prose and poetry workshops beginning in February. The writings may be used in 2-dimensional silkscreened works as well as readings.
The project will culminate at the end of May with an exhibition and reading at the 29 Palms Art Gallery, curated by Rhonda Coleman. The show will incorporate 2 and 3 dimensional works, performative readings/spoken word, and a reception for the artists and community. Filmmaker Kate McCabe will document the entire journey, beginning with the removal of invasive plants through the making of the artwork, and present her film during the opening reception.
The project will be promoted by our partners at KVCR and Radio Free Joshua Tree.