About the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council (MBCAC)

Mission Statement

The Arts Council’s mission is to inspire and enliven the community through the arts, and to enhance the cultural and economic health of the region. Building community through the arts, the Arts Council continues to be a leading source of information, inspiration, and energy for artists and patrons throughout the Morongo Basin and beyond.

Non-profit Status

The Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization with a 501(c)(3) status. If you’re interested in donating time or money to support the Council’s activities, please contact us at info@mbcac.org or president@mbcac.org. Investing in your local nonprofits is investing in the health and prosperity of the community as a whole.

Board of Directors Meetings

Meetings of the MBCAC Board of Directors are held every second Wednesday of the month, from 5PM – 7 PM at Gallery 62 located at 61607 Twentynine Palms Hwy, Suite H in Joshua Tree. Board meeting are open to the public.

Board of Directors

President - Ed Keesling

As a studio potter, I throw pots on the wheel, create ceramic tile, murals, and sculpture. Most of my work is high fired to cone 10/11 (2400F) in a propane gas kiln. I also make coil sculpture and pottery using the “Wedged Coil” process which was the subject of my Master of Arts thesis. at the Antioch University. Since the 1990’s I have also studied and worked with Native American forms, images and pit firing methods. During the past year, I have also taught handbuilding and pit firing methods to youth and adults.

Vice President - Marcia Geiger

A house-sitting position in Joshua Tree introduced me to the high desert in 1989, and its incomparable landscape and wildlife inspired me to take up the brush, oil paints, and palette. I enjoy the camaraderie and friendships of living in the thriving artists’ community of Joshua Tree, CA. My remote private studio north of town provides me with the open space, peace and solitude I find necessary for my creative inspirations to grow and flourish.

Treasurer - Mike Shaw

I am a retired Pharmacist. My wife, Esther, and I moved to Yucca Valley about twelve years ago.
Esther is an artist and began her involvement with Gallery 62 at its inception. During that time I have done odd jobs at the Gallery including the weekly sales report. In the past, I owned a pharmacy in Orange County and was my own bookkeeper. I’m more than happy to do this task for the Gallery and Council.

Secretary - Raini Armstrong

Lucky to have grown up around artists her entire life, Raini Armstrong has attended art shows around the country and has been exposed to fine art and crafts from their creation to their sale. Her love for the art world only grew when she began dabbling in photography and watercolors in the late 1990s.

Raini has called the desert her home for over twenty years now and she still cannot get over how brilliant the skies are, how magnificent the vistas and rock cathedrals are and how lively nature can become only to slip into near silence during the heat of the day. The desert provides endless opportunities for art; Raini simply attempts to convey the beauty she sees and share it with her friends and family.

Art Tours Director - Patricia Knight

Patricia Knight is a professional photographer based in Joshua Tree, CA. Native to California, Patricia grew up in Orange County. She moved to the desert in 1995 to raiser her daughter as a widowed mother. Trained through the New York Institute of Photography and Fashion Institute of Design (FIDM), her love for interior/digital/media arts grew. These interests–visual media and nature–came together for her and she carries out her passion with visits to Joshua Tree National Park.

Gallery 62 Co-Director - Esther Shaw

I have been a resident of Yucca Valley for twelve years, during which I have been an MBCAC member. I have helped with various jobs in the organization and helped start up Gallery 62.
I have been an exhibiting artist for 10 of the Open Studios Art Tours, and have been a working artist throughout my career. I have taught art from K – adult, worked as an illustrator (20 years), and had my own gallery. I hold a BFA from Mass. College of Art. This is a great arts community and I’m happy to be part of it.

Gallery 62 Co-Director - Zara Kand

Zara Kand was born February 26, 1987 in London England. Having been raised by artists gave her early exposure to the art scene. As a child she was always busy drawing and day-dreaming… At the age of 9 she left Holland to live in the states; first on the east coast and then 8 years in the LA area. Over this time she’d discovered her passion for oil painting and has been developing a reputation: exhibiting her paintings in numerous locations, published illustrations, murals, children’s art & craft workshops, and album cover art. Currently she lives in the high desert of California, spending her time with painting and… day-dreaming.

Member Events Director - Laurie Schaffer
Marketing Director - Karan Murphy

Growing up I have always been interested in all forms of art. Creating and making something out of nothing always challenged me. I attended art school for 5 years at OCC. Most of my training in the arts was painting,perspective, casting and other forms of art. I’m self taught in the art of mosaic tiling. I have made large mosaic murals, floor tide pools and tiling on walls. I have worked with tiles for 25 years.

I find interest in working with all kinds of mediums. I like to mix 2-3 different types of materials together. For instance, clay and wire or rust and tile or wood. I feel it makes the piece so much more interesting.

Membership Director - Julianne Koza

I have been taking photographs ever since I ordered my first camera from the back of a comic book. The equipment has changed since then, but the thrill of capturing a beautiful moment remains the same.
I took darkroom classes in junior high school and in college and was yearbook photographer in high school and college. But my pictures remained worthy of personal use. With the evolution of computer and digital cameras, I finally have the tools to create the images I always dreamed of.
Even as a toddler I was always pointing and saying “Ooh, look, pretty!” Photography is just my way of sharing my excitement about the beauty and wonders of the creation all around us, my way of saying, “Ooh, look, pretty!”

Communications Director - Scott Doten