Chaparral – A History – and a Call to Action

A Call for History Articles!

Chaparral Artists have been going strong since 1965 when they emerged from the Hi-Desert Playhouse to focus on and foster the visual arts of the community. Chaparral Artists have maintained relationships with many organizations throughout the Basin, strengthening ties to the arts and the communities that make our beautiful desert HOME. It started as a close relationship with the Hi-Desert Playhouse (ie a Hi-Desert Cultural Center venue), and has branched from there to the Chambers of Yucca Valley and 29 Palms, the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council, the Morongo Art Colony, the Community Centers of Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley, the Boys & Girls Club, and the Hearts Foundation. Most often, these relationships blossom because our members belong to multiple groups, sharing events and news, and just like that the Chaparral Artists make new friends. Some of these relationships have lasted decades, drawing our groups together by the members that love them. Others remain casual, but no matter the strength of these ties, Chaparral will always be interested in keeping connected with creativity across the Morongo Basin.

We are making it a priority to collect and maintain the history of Chaparral since the group organized. Over the years, the Chaparral administration has kept newspaper articles and event photos, but we want to do more! We want to fill in the gaps, where there are gaps, of Chaparral history. We have an extensive collection of items from the 1980s and 1990s that are being digitized. We have a small number of historical items from the 2000s and 2010s. Currently, it seems as though we have little history from those first decades, the 1960s and the 1970s.

We hope to change this! Some information can be collected by scouring through the archives of the Hi-Desert Star and Desert Trails newspapers, and some gaps can be filled by you! We are calling out to the photographers that attend events, to the newspaper snippet collectors, and to the friends of Chaparral Artists. We want YOUR help. If you have maintained a scrapbook of art-related items that have Chaparral events or member stories within, reach out to ChaparralArtists@gmail.com to share your collections. If you have oral stories to share, reach out to us, and present these memories via email, phone, or in person. We want to maintain a strong foundation, and what better way to do this than to preserve our history so that it can be shared with existing members as well as future members.

Thank you!