A century ago, artists played an important role in the formation of the National Park Service. Looking forward, Joshua Tree Art Innovation Laboratory aims to restore this role within the modern park service. Moving beyond making art for parks, JT Lab explores ways that the creative community can work with NPS to support our national parks. Using Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave National Preserve as testing grounds, JT Lab explores new roles that arts professionals and arts students can play in helping NPS pursue its mission of preservation and engagement. It enlists artists not solely as image-makers, but as creative thinkers, problem-solvers, and communicators who are highly skilled at tapping into contemporary culture, generating new ideas, and engaging the public in fresh and innovative ways.
JT Lab consists of three experiments that will run over two years:
Embedded Art Professional. Working closely with senior park staff, artist and Otis lecturer Rebecca Lowry will create new, mission assistive projects for Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave National Preserve. This collaborative effort will develop innovative solutions to both new and stubborn issues. Lowry will also function as a creative problem solver, contributing ideas to any aspect of park management in which a new outlook is desired.
Art Volunteers. Led by Otis alumna Jenny Kane, xB will build bridges to local and regional art communities by facilitating broad engagement. It allows artists to contribute on periodic or temporary bases and accommodates many disciplines, ages and talents. xB consists of two tracks. One track gives artists opportunities to supplement existing Joshua Tree National Park interpretive efforts with programs of their own design. Such projects may include guided artist walks, evening programs, and themed exhibits. A second track provides artists undertaking substantial projects of their own the opportunity to collaborate with park staff or to access park resources so as to enrich or complete their project. All xB projects must be in some way pertinent to the park and its mission.
Future Park/Art Professionals. Every summer Joshua Tree hosts high school student interns. Experiment C aims to build on this program by bringing college-age youth from partners Otis College of Art and Design and the Copper Mountain College Art Program to work with these interns on creative projects. Teams will create mission-assistive projects and programming for the park, aimed at their own age group. In doing so, they will learn specific skills, gain new role models, and discover new opportunities for their own futures. This experiment will be jointly run by Joshua Tree National Park, Otis College of Art and Design, and Copper Mountain College.
Joshua Tree Art Innovation Laboratory is funded in part by a grant to Otis College of Art and Design from the National Endowment for the Arts as a part of its "Imagine your Parks" initiative celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.
If you are an artist, and have an interest in the Art Volunteer program, feel free to get in touch with us using the form below.
If you are not an artist, but would still like to participate in JT Lab, you can support us by making a contribution to the project. Donations can be made through the Otis College of Art and Design Donations page. Please be sure to write "JT Lab" in the Special Instructions field. All contributions are tax deductible. We are also happy to accept appropriate in-kind support. If you have items or a service you'd like to contribute, or other questions about donations, please contact us using the form below.
FEEL FREE TO CONTACT US:
Established in 1918, Otis College of Art and Design offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide variety of visual and applied arts, media, and design. Core programs in liberal arts, business practices, and community-driven projects support the College’s mission to prepare diverse students to enrich our world through their creativity, skill, and vision. As Los Angeles’ first professional art school, visionary alumni and faculty include MacArthur and Guggenheim grant recipients, Oscar awardees, and design stars at Apple, Anthropologie, Pixar, Mattel, and more. The renowned Creative Action program has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for Community Engagement, and the Otis Report on the Creative Economy is a powerful advocacy tool for creative industries. The College serves the Greater Los Angeles Area through compelling public programming, as well as year-round Continuing Education courses for all ages.
Joshua Tree National Park is a 793,000 acre park located two hours southeast of Los Angeles. Two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado, come together in this diverse landscape. Dark night skies, a wide variety of plants and animals, a rich cultural history, and surreal geologic features add to the wonder of this vast wilderness in Southern California.
Mojave National Preserve is a 1.6 million acre park located in the California desert between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. It is home to singing sand dunes, volcanic cinder cones and Joshua tree forests. The history of the wild west can be found in its long-abandoned mines, homesteads and military outposts.
Copper Mountain College is a California Community College located across the street from Joshua Tree National Park. Communities the college serves include Twentynine Palms, Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center and Morongo Valley.
BoxoPROJECTS is a multi-program arts initiative based in Joshua Tree, California, exploring the role of art and artists in creating community and the power of art to shape the destiny of communities. Boxo offers facilitated artist residencies and related programming at BoxoHOUSE in Joshua Tree, as well as exhibitions, installations and performances in various locations.
The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) protects the Mojave Desert ecosystem and its scenic and cultural resource values. To date, MDLT has conserved more than 60,000 acres of prime desert habitat in National Parks, wilderness areas and wildlife linkage corridors.