What is the Desert?


You cannot take hold of it, and you cannot get rid of it; it goes on its own way. You speak and it is silent; you remain silent, and it speaks.

Yoka Daishi, Song of Enlightenment

The Joshua Tree Experiential Arts and Writing Retreat invokes the imaginaries of place, contacting the environment as a primary site for new work and approaches to emerge. Interdisciplinary workshops emphasize experience as a means of encountering and knowing the desert’s influence on human activity, thought and creativity as we experience it together in a community of praxis.

2021 Retreat

Welcome artists and writers to the home of The Joshua Tree Experiential ARTS and WRITING retreat. This year’s retreat is *sold out* due to limited availability per Delta variant of Coronavirus, but feel free to email us to stay updated about next year: retreatjoshuatree@gmail.com.

This year our retreat takes place November 19-21, 2021 in Twentynine Palms. 

Our Mission

Our mission is simple: engage in workshops that provide new opportunities to experience the desert, generate new work, form community, experiment with process and intention, and afterwards, share what you have made in Bad Ken: A Journal of Place.

Former year’s participants allegedly declared:

If this was a cult, I’d join.

If only this was a few days longer.

This was the most magical weekend of my life.


In 2019 we introduced a surprise theatrical element! Our workshops included Hallucinations of Neutrality, Sublime in the Desert, and Desert Ikebana,

2018’s retreat highlights included a group reading at Space Cowboy Books, workshops on the “Desert Gothic” and adaptations of the dérive method.  In 2017, a living room reading was delivered by desert poet L.I. Henley and a pink sunset at 49 Palms Oasis during the “Engaging the Web” and “Geologic Forms as Muse” workshops.