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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


2019 Retreat

Welcome artists and writers to the home of The Joshua Tree Experiential ARTS and WRITING retreat. We invite artists and writers to attend this annual interdisciplinary weekend retreat in Joshua Tree co-curated by Sean & Ariel, two friends whose desire for alternative artistic spaces and appreciation for radical openness has led them to the desert as a site of inquiry, creative praxis, and community engagement.

This year our retreat takes place November 15-17, 2019 at Mojave Stars Ranch in Wonder Valley. Registration is available now. Email retreatjoshuatree@gmail.com to correspond with us and gather more information.  We have recommendations on where to stay and will help you and to book a spot nearby.  Here is some modest desert decadence from our upcoming retreat space:

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.

Highlights of 2017’s event included a living room reading by desert poet L.I. Henley and a pink sunset at 49 Palms Oasis during “Engaging the Web” and “Geologic Forms as Muse” workshops.  In 2018 we held a reading on the performance stage of Space Cowboy Books.

Statement on Inclusivity/Safe Space: This retreat and its facilitators strive to make this experience an inclusive and safe one for people of all identities, backgrounds, experiences and aesthetic orientations. We will work to meet requests for reasonable accommodations made in advance.

This retreat is not recommended for:

  • stiffs
  • anyone looking for a “typical” writing retreat
  • followers of the Western Canon 

WARNING: In the past, our experiential retreat has been unorthodox, improvisational, and intellectually vigorous yet meandering. We follow our retreat schedule rhizomatically and change it on whims. It is an endearing or ostracizing looseness depending on your composition.