Gallery History

29 Palms Art Gallery ~ 29 Palms Artists’ Guild

29 Palms Art Gallery adobe logo by Don Malone

Early 29 Palms Art Gallery adobe logo by the late Don Malone.

A BRIEF HISTORY: Twentynine Palms Artists’ Guild is the oldest arts organization in the Morongo Basin, founded in 1951 by eight distinguished artists: John Hilton, Merritt Boyer, Evelyn Hutchinson, Michael Malloy, Kirk Martin, Vera Martin, Edna Onderdonk, and Fritiof Perssons.
     Twentynine Palms Art Gallery opened in 1963 in a historic adobe built in 1936 by the Stubbs brothers for western author Tom Hopkins.  Mixture for the adobe bricks was brought from Mesquite Dry Lake. Fill dirt was made up of gold tailings from the Gold Crown Mine, and plaster for the walls came from the Anaconda Mine.  Some of the support beams were railroad ties used during construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913. Spikes can still be seen in the lintels over the doors and windows. 
     In 1963, Edward and Margaret Schiller purchased the adobe and sold it to the Guild for a community art gallery.  The Guild obtained its non-profit status in 1963 and by 1967 had paid off the mortgage, the ashes of which were placed in a gold casket mounted in the fireplace mantel of what is now the East Gallery room. 
     An old garage was later converted into the Gift Shop, which has financially supported the Gallery over the years.  In 1972 the Lee Lukes Pickering room was added, and in 1992 the West Gallery was built, all from generous community support.
     Twentynine Palms Art Gallery is a landmark in the City of Twentynine Palms, providing exhibitions, art receptions, seasonal events, Monday morning paint-outs, and art classes for all ages for desert locals, visitors and snowbirds.
     Twentynine Palms Artists’ Guild is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  Membership is open to all artists and art-appreciators.

29 Palms Artists Guild 12th Birthday in 1964

Celebrating the Guild’s 12th Birthday in 1964 were (left to right) Los Angeles Times columnist Ed Ainsworth, Guild President Lee Lukes Pickering, Barbara Hilton, actor and humorist Will Rogers Jr., and founding artist John Hilton.

29 Palms Art Gallery-James Cagney, John Hilton, circa 1960s

The 1960s saw many artists and art students inspired by the 29 Palms Artists Guild, including part-time resident and actor James Cagney (above left), seen here sketching John Hilton while John was painting a desert landscape.

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