Explore Desert Culture with the Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours
The Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours are a personal favorite of mine. Every October, for two weekends, you can hit the roads of the hi-desert around Joshua Tree National Park, and visit nearly 150 artists at around 100 different artist studios.
The weather is usually perfect, and one weekend will feature west end artists (Morongo Valley, Yucca Valley, Pioneertown, Landers, and part of Joshua Tree), while the other will feature those in the east end of the hi-desert (Joshua Tree, Twentynine Palms, and Wonder Valley).
This is one event you can do at your own pace, your own way. All you need is the art tours catalog and map, which is available free, and you're on your way. Pick the artists who interest you, and visit their studio. You'll get to meet them in person, enjoy their work, and maybe even take some home with you!
There are artists working in many mediums, and at levels from solid amateur work to world class professional quality. Pricing for work is less than gallery rates by far, and sales all go to the artist.
At some studios you'll be greeted with refreshments, demonstrations, and even live music. It's a wonderfully casual way to get to know the hi-desert and its creative spirit.
If you're not from the area, I recommend booking a room at one of the desert's classic hotels like the 29 Palms Inn at the Oasis of Mara. Relax after a day of art touring is over, with a cocktail and dinner poolside and watch for the owls on the hunt after dark.