What’s going on in the Antelope Valley?

What is going on in the Antelope Valley? Hey, thanks for asking.

As it happens, there is a good bit going on. If you are looking for some sites to see in the AV, check out the art scene.

The MOAH is currently featuring a show called, “British Invasion.” Among the two dozen artists included in the show is David Hockney, “one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century” (MOAH).  The work ranges in medium and in style as the show intends to both reference and update the 1960s musical and cultural British Invasion. Fittingly, these artists are showing work inspired by American culture, just as the American blues spurred the inspirations and innovations of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

 MOAH is excited to feature the work of several of the artists who participated in the original British Invasion of the sixties as well as a diverse group of up-and-coming and recently established Britons, whose California-inspired body of work could be said to comprise a contemporary British Invasion.

Also on exhibit at the downtown Lancaster art museum – “The Mojave Project.” This show includes paintings and photography by regional artists and artists interested in the desert region. Kim Stringfellow, Ron Pinkerton (image below) and Terry Cervantes are three of the eight artists taking part in this show.

The current exhibit is part of a larger, ongoing project that promises to fascinate desert and city dwellers alike.

From The Mojave Project:

The Mojave Project is a transmedia documentary and curatorial project led by Kim Stringfellow exploring the physical, geological and cultural landscape of the Mojave Desert. The Mojave Project reconsiders and establishes multiple ways in which to interpret this unique and complex landscape, through association and connection of seemingly unrelated sites, themes, and subjects thus creating a speculative and immersive experience for its audience.

The scope of the conversation represented by the Mojave Project is admirable, especially in a climate wherein flashy news trumps deeper discourse and distraction is king. The artists working with Kim Stringfellow on this project are going against the grain of the instantaneous and developing a substantial and sustained artistic dialogue on what the desert is, what it means, and what it kinds of ideas it contains.

Looking for more inspiration?

Reception: January 26, 6:30-8:30 pm, free. You may also view this exhibit January 26-March 12 during any public event.
Chuck Tedecshi

The city of Palmdale is hosting “Inspired by Nature” – Art by Chuck Tedeschi. The exhibit beings with an opening reception on January 26 and will be on display through March 12 at the Palmdale Playhouse.

Inspired By Nature - Art by Chuck Tedeschi
Chuck Tedeschi


Information on Tedeschi is hard to come by, but his work seems to speak for itself. The artist will be present at the opening reception so you can ask him how in the world he is doing what he does…

Also, as you scan the horizon for more arts-related events keep an eye out for happenings groups like these: LPACThe Lakes & Valleys Art Guild and The Antelope Valley Thespians.

For an outsider’s take on how the intersections between the arts, the desert’s open spaces and the Antelope Valley, check out this article from Curbed LA by Jennifer Swan.

Swan still has a 661 area code, according to her bio, so she is not the outsider here, not exactly. But she portrays an interesting image of the Lancaster, Palmdale, Mojave area – seen through the eyes of Venice Beach folks as a place simultaneously full of potential and kind of down-at-the-heels.

Giving a good amount of space in the article to local figures like Robert Benitez (a director of/at MOAH) and Larissa Nickel (artist, advocate, writer and professor), Swan ultimately poses a sort of bizarre question about whether or not the art scene is about to be gentrified here where the population has surpassed 500,000 and the average annual income is just slightly under the California state median income of $60,000.

Presuming Swan is clear on what gentrification means, she poses a strange and intriguing question that seems fitting for a region on the outskirts of Los Angeles, a city of big dreams, big incomes and also little dreams and little incomes. If there is a “culture creep” spreading from Los Angeles, what exactly does that culture consist of? And what does it mean if that culture – however vibrant, however exploratory, however chic – shows up on the outskirts of town?

The desert of the Antelope Valley certainly has wide open spaces and unoccupied territory, but if people occupy the scrub-brush and the dry-washes does that mean Palmdale has been gentrified? In Brooklyn, people didn’t gentrify the alleys and the warehouses…they bought the brownstones, right?

The Antelope Valley is often a projection, for Angelenos, of their own fantasies and biases and Swan would appear to ask what projection might win out: Will it be one that invites notions of a creatively inspiring blank slate and uses this invitation as a call to take ownership of the region’s arts mantle or one that sees the Antelope Valley as place with an identity of its own, defined by the people and artists who already live here?

The answer may clarify the fact that the ideas behind “desert gentrification” are anchored to psychology and class-consciousness as much as or more so than they are to actual class. Ultimately, Swan’s article examines the battle of ideas and identity that persistently crops up in and around the Antelope Valley. Take a look if you have a chance. It’s a really interesting read.

The last artist’s haven in Los Angeles” by Jennifer Swan.


The space at 5 Acres, a sign that says 5 Acres in red, with a fire pit, surrounded by desert.



CEDARFEST Juried Arts Festival – June 11

There are certain events that tend to show just how many artists there are in the Antelope Valley and the surrounding area – – and it is a sizable group. But maybe because artists so often busy themselves making art, if you aren’t paying close attention it can be easy to forget or just not realize how much art is going on here.
This yearly event can be a corrective to that forgetting.

The Lancaster Museum of Art & History (MOAH) and MOAH:CEDAR are hosting the 31st Annual All-Media Juried Arts Festival, CEDARFEST, from Saturday, June 11 to Saturday, July 16. The festival and opening reception will be held on Saturday, June 11 from 4 to 8 PM.

One of last years’ prize winners was Marthe Aponte, an artist featured here. The CEDARFEST helped to launch Aponte into showing all over the place, both in the Antelope Valley and in Los Angeles. Who knows what will happen for this year’s winners…?

Image result for lancaster moah juried show aponte

Images from the New Cedar Center

The Cedar Center is now open and is now part of the Lancaster Museum of Art and History (MOAH).

People have been talking about the changes and there is hope (again) for this venue to be given the chance to live the life it has always wanted to live (and has sometimes been able to live).

Congrats to all those who put in work to keep this place alive and who have renewed the Cedar Center time and time again. 

New Exhibits at MOAH

From the MOAH website:


August 9, 2012 – September 16, 2012

First Floor | Vault Gallery

Although most easily categorized as landscapes, Gregory Martin’s paintings can be thought of as contemplative spaces in which to experience dualities and polarities within human nature, the natural world and the practice of painting. For instance; growth and decay, the illusion of depth and flatness, the “truth” of photography and the “fiction” of painting, the differences between our ideals our actions.

Visit the MOAH website for more info.

What People Are Saying About the MOAH in Lancaster

AV Arts Blog asked what people thought about the new Modern Art and History Museum in downtown Lancaster, California – the MOAH. Here is what people are saying about the new Antelope Valley cultural space:

Comment from Janet K. – “Was there Sat, May 5, at public opening. Loved the rooftop live band. ‘Though with the sun and heat blaring at them, sundown concerts or facing opposite direction would please all more. Architecture is unique and exploratory. Structure has so much potential for housing of Antelope Valley art works on a revolving basis. Can easily visualize this most special museum as an art mecca of national interest.”

Posing the Question on Facebook (at an AV Arts Group Page), a discussion erupted. Well, erupted might not be the best term, but it seems to capture some of the dynamic.

In the spirit of neutral discussion, we’ve deleted the names of the people behind each post,  but that doesn’t completely anonymize the discussion as some names are used within the posts. The point isn’t who said what anyway. The point is what was said.

The different directions in which artists come to their opinions museum are clear in these posts and point to a continuing conversation on the arts in the Antelope Valley:

    •  The facility is dope by far but as far as the art inside huge fail

    •  I think it’s a great start. The building is attractive and has a lot to offer in a relatively small space. Personally, I’d like to see less emphasis on postmodernist work that most people find unrelatable and elitist. The general population has better taste than they are given credit for by the urban art establishment. I do appreciate MOAH’s willingness to also display art that is based on skill and thoughtfulness, rather than shock and the trend-of-the-day. All in all, I think it’s a good thing and I look forward to important future exhibitions.
    • Why do you think the art is a fail Michael?
    •  The art is prevalent to the area not hiding that but who wants to see landscape paintings all day everyday. I have nothing against it all but how much is to much ?
    • I don’t know where you get “all day everyday”. Are you being held captive on the second floor? What about the shiny stuff on the ground floor? One room and the hallway upstairs is a show called “The Painted Desert” which, yes, is landscapes…some traditional, some modern. When that show is over it will be something else. The only thing you’ll see every day is the history exhibit…and that will change too.
    • Well, the only way for local artists to participate was through the painted desert exhibition which for some of us was irritating because it often seems the only acceptable means to show out here is to paint landscapes. In order to facilitate more types of local art it would have been appreciated if there had been an opening or opportunity for other types of work to support the “new” facility with new facets of AV art and to flesh out what desert art actually is rather than just simply depictions and illustrations of the desert. For me a museum is much much more than a building. While I can appreciate the new facility and some cool furniture, I was disappointed in the admission fee, lack of community connection, and lack of educational information. I did think the art was fantastic-it was great to see Judy Chicago, Larry Bell, and Craig Kauffman. I’m not sure how I feel as an opening exhibition since LMAG previously had the Weisman Foundation collection which addressed many of the same ideas, but it did bring some amazing pieces here so I guess I wish that there had been more research about any connections to this specific area rather than the general “aerospace occurs here” (and in Burbank, LA and many other areas). Like Michael, I also wish that AV art had been fleshed out past painted deserts. Hopefully an exhibition schedule will be produced and there will be opportunities to expand the definition of local art to incorporate more than just illustrations of things with more conceptual/thoughtful insight into this area. All in all I’m just happy that the museum is again open (!).

    •  We have to remember that it was a huge undertaking just to finish construction and get the place open. There are three opening exhibits. One is modern and non-representational, one is specifically paintings of the desert, and one is a history exhibit (don’t forget that there is an “H” in MOAH). The fact that ANY local artists were given the opportunity to participate is a major step and not what one would expect from a museum at all. The gallery next to the gift shop is another ongoing opportunity, and is currently displaying work that is certainly not traditional landscape. These are all finite shows. When they come down, something else will go up. I have a friend who left in a huff because he didn’t like the postmodernism. You can’t please all the people all the time. I can tell you one thing: just because someone owns a box of crayons and calls themselves an artist, doesn’t mean they have a right to show in a museum.

    •  ‎”The fact that ANY local artists were given the opportunity to participate is a major step and not what one would expect from a museum at all. ” Oh Todd you’re killing me with that one! DISAGREE! Museums are for the community and the arts community in particular has been integral to this museum since it inception so the museum should never cut out participation. never. ever. Even kids with crayons. This is museum 101. People make a museum and participation is required! It absolutely is expected unless you want a mausoleum of things that no one cares about seeing or learning about. Museums are forums for discussion-good bad and ugly. It’s where you go to express. You may not be shown in the museum, but there should always be opportunities to try- to improve-to participate. This is the “Lancaster Museum” which states that we should take pride in our AV art production and explore what that means in order to develop an understanding of this place in relation to others. (and art is historical. pet peeve- H is redundant. see also Western Hotel Museum)
    •  Todd Todd Todd your killing me haha

    • Okay Larissa, you probably know more about museums than I do, but I’ve visited a few and I’ve never seen an exhibit in the main hall by Joe Blow from down the street. The point is, this museum IS inviting participation by locals…in more ways than one. Just because some locals are not in a show dedicated to paintings of the desert doesn’t mean they won’t have a chance to be in the next show, or the one after that. And if someone never gets their work in a museum or a gallery or a juried show or never sells a piece to a stranger, maybe they should look at the quality of the work instead of blaming the world for not supporting the arts.

    •  hmmm. define quality for me.

    •  hmmmmmm. I haven’t seen the museum, and I’m not an expert on art or museums. but who is anyone to say that anyone else is an artist? isn’t art in the eye of the beholder? If some one creates to express their emotions in whatever medium, if someone contributes to the art community, whether it is showing, conversing, learning, or selling, wouldn’t that make them an artist? (even though it wasn’t directed at me) That statement just makes me feel bad about myself and art in general. I consider myself an artist because I create, because i use words and colors to relay a message or emotion. I do not call myself a professional artist because I am constantly growing, and learning, and trying every medium and art form I can physically handle. I think the fact that the museum has started dialogue is amazing and artistic in itself. Whatever direction the museum goes in, as long as they offer the community some type of art, postmodern or traditional I’m just happy to have an art venue, and I’m happy that there are some intelligent artist in this group to offer their insight.

  • Knowing Todd’s perspective on art, I can understand why he feels that craft and skill is most important to him. The great thing about the arts is the numerous perspectives and amount of diversity in the works. Don’t feel badly about your art or your position in the arts Cassandra. Everyone starts somewhere and forms their ideas and voice continually through life. I disagree with Todd saying that Joe (and Jane) Blows aren’t showing in museums. AVC’s Frank Dixon, and Lee Bergthold both have had well deserved solo shows at the museum and are teaching others right here at AVC. We have AV artists working here who were taught by Craig Kauffman and other well respected artists. We had Tom Miller. I know and have studied with people who have shown at LACMA, MOCA and the Smithsonian and they too really are just the artist’s next door (I’ve seen them get spinach in their teeth). One of the major issues out here is the gully between emerging and professional artists. We need emerging artists. Many are trained in universities or art schools and return here to a void of production and opportunity. We’re missing major pieces like the Lofts Gallery which allowed younger artists to gain experience in showing and producing ideas for different types of shows. Unlike a museum, it gave freedom in the types of events that occurred. Not to bring up old wounds but that type of space is necessary to give younger more experimental opportunities in investigating and growing an arts practice without the pressure of a professional level exhibition. Anyway, my long winded point is that museums build strategies to meet the needs of their local communities—yes that is one facet of the duties—international exhibitions and other strategies do come into play, but this discussion is only helpful to the museum if the needs and wants of this area are expressed. If emerging artists want to be a part of the museum than they should say so. If the younger crowd is sick of desert landscapes, then they should say so. It’s okay to critique and disagree because museums fight for balance. It’s not easy but it’s part of the job and what makes museums important to those it serves. The museum can work to provide residency opportunities, training events, and any number of strategies to address these and many more issues. I have complete faith the museum is listening, and will adapt its programs to the needs of this community because that is exactly what museums do. So as Eric has asked with this thread, what did you think? and furthermore what else do you want?
    Have something to add? Please leave a comment and we’ll may be able to edit it into this post.

Lancaster’s Museum of Art and History

The new Lancaster modern art & history museum is open; the MOAH…it’s open, it’s real, and it’s full of potential. Have you been inside and seen it? What did you think? What do you think of the Antelope Valley’s largest, most expensive and most official arts space?

AV Arts Blog would like to hear about your reaction to the new museum: thoughts, perceptions, likes, dislikes, hopes, inside scoops… What we’d like to do is invite everyone to write in with comments that will then be put into a new post, collecting the various views expressed in those comments.

Probably, we will just see a few comments come in. Not everyone has been to the new museum on the BLVD and not everyone has the time to write in, but in the hopes of encouraging conversation about this new space and conversation on the arts in general here in the Antelope Valley, I’d like to try this out, invite some comments (or even controversy) and see if we can help either spark debate or spark interest in this new arts space.


Lancaster Museum/Art Gallery Presents…

Wiki Night
Third Thursday of every month, starting at 6 pm.
May 19; June 16; July 21; August 18, 2011

PechaKucha Night is now Wiki Night, a monthly opportunity for creative individuals to come together in an informal atmosphere to share their ideas, projects and thoughts. Wiki Night retains the PechaKucha presentation format: 20 slides, 20 seconds each.

New Museum

Fast-paced, fun and informative, there are always a variety of creative topics to explore. Free for all to attend. Locations change monthly.


Please call or email the Lancaster Museum/Art Gallery for more information.

LM/AG Student Art Show

26th Antelope Valley Union High School District Student Art Exhibition
April 9-May 8, 2011
Located at Lancaster City Hall

Opening Reception: April 9, 2011 from noon-3 pm
Students from Antelope Valley Union High School District showcase their artistic talents in a wide range of media in this annual exhibition co-organized by the Lancaster Museum/Art Gallery and AVUHSD teachers. Past exhibitions have included photography, sculpture, painting, drawing, digital media and ceramic arts. Come show your support for burgeoning young artists!

NOTE: This exhibition is located at Lancaster City Hall as the museum prepares for its move to its new facility.

44933 North Fern Avenue
Lancaster, CA 93534

LM/AG: PechaKucha Night

PechaKucha Night 20×20
Saturday, March 19, 2011 from 6 to 8 pm
20 slides, 20 seconds each. A variety of creative topics to explore.

Designed to keep presentations short and passionate, PechaKucha Night allows creative people to come together to share their ideas, works, and thoughts in a relaxed, and informal atmosphere. Free.

A bit more about the format:

LM/AG Event: Through the Looking Glass, 2nd Museum Gala and Jabberwocky

Prism: Through the Looking Glass, 2nd Museum Gala and Jabberwocky after party 
Saturday, February 26, 2011 gala beginning at 5:30 pm; after party beginning at 9:30 pm 
Walk through the looking glass on February 26, 2011 for a unique evening celebrating 25 years of art, education, and culture at the Lancaster prism web logoMuseum/Art Gallery.

“Prism: Through the Looking Glass,” the 2nd museum gala, derives inspiration from the glass architecture of the museum’s new building on The BLVD, and the spectrum of experiences that awaits within.


The Jabberwocky after party kicks off at 9:30 pm featuring cocktails, nosh and dueling pianos from 2 Grand Entertainment followed by a DJ. Enjoy an evening of art and entertainment and be among those supporting the community’s long-standing resource for art, history, culture, and education. Prism gala tickets $100; Jabberwocky after party tickets $25.