Workshop29 is a series of innovative, FREE arts and culture workshops presented by the Public Arts Advisory Committee that will take place between October 2023 and April 2024. These workshops will engage ecology through dance; develop inclusive storytelling focused on Black, Indigenous, People of Color + LGBTQ+ communities; inspire voter activism through music and singing; and motivate emotional transformation through sculpture.


Register for our most current workshop here.



Workshop Location:

Gymnasium in Freedom Plaza

6547 Freedom Way, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277


Freedom Plaza is ADA Accessible and accessible via public transportation. If you require additional assistance, please let us know when you sign up.


This activity is funded in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency, via the The Inland SoCal Creative Corps, a component fund at The Inland Empire Community Foundation



Some workshops will have a limited number of spots and may fill up quickly. Pre Registration Encouraged.


■ Sunday, October 15: Dance + Ecology: Learning About the Local Landscape, Animals and Environmental Challenges through Movement with Ryan        Heffington. Register here. 

■ Sunday, November 12 + Sunday, December 3: Tell Your Story! (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color and LGBTQ+ Focused) with Douglas Blanc + Tania “T” Hammidi (Registration Link to Come)

■ Sunday, January 28, Sunday February 4, and Saturday, February17: Voter Activism through Music and Singing; Drop-in Workshops and Performance with Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs (register at http:/ ) 

■ Sunday, March 3 (Pt. 1) & Sunday, March 10 (Pt. 2): Emotional Transformation through Sculpture with Jai Schmidt (Registration Link to Come)


Workshop29 Mentorship Program


An integral part of Workshop29 is a unique artist-mentorship program which will help community members develop professional and artistic leadership skills, building capacity among the next generation of creative leaders in Twentynine Palms.


Workshop29 is funded in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency, through a grant from the Inland SoCal Creative Corps, a component fund at the Inland Empire Community Foundation.



Join us on Saturday, April 27, 2024 for the Workshop29 Wrap Event at the 29 Palms Gymnasium. We will gather with all the Artist-Mentors, mentees, workshop participants, PAAC members and friends, and our greater community, to celebrate everyone’s hard work and creativity in executing this program. We will celebrate with performances by workshop participants and hearing from the voices of existing and new leaders in the 29 Palms community!




Dance + Ecology

With Ryan Heffington

October 15th, 2023




The free ALL LEVEL dance class uses movement inspired by the precious tortoise, the iconic Joshua Tree, monsoons, and more, encouraging a fun way to learn about local ecology. Heffington, an Emmy Award Winning Choreographer, is a proud resident of the high desert. His mission is to bring people together in the name of community through art + dance.


Tell Your Story!

With Artists T. Hammidi and Douglas Blanc

November 12th & December 3rd, 2023


Uplift your voice through this two part writing workshop series focused on Black, Indigenous, Person of Color and LGBTQIA+ communities in 29 Palms. Be inspired to tell your story about life in the High Desert through composing your own poem, short story, screenplay, live performance, song, zine, or multi-media piece. No experience necessary!


Voter Activism through Vocal Workshops and Performance

With Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs

January 28 & Sunday February 4, 2024

With Performance on Saturday, February 17, 2024


As part of the Workshop29 series, artist and composer Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs leads High Desert Choir - a free collaborative choir to help Get Out the Vote! Participants will learn vocal technique, original music, and collective improvisation. 2-hour workshops take place on Sundays January 28 and February 4, and culminate in a performance at the 29 Palms Farmers Market on February 17th in partnership with VOTE Morongo Basin.


All voices are welcome: there is no audition and no performance/singing experience is required.


Emotional Transformation Through Sculpture

With Jai Knight

March 3rd & March 10th, 2024


In this workshop we will use recycled paper to create vessels that symbolize our body’s experience through trauma. We will be working to transform literal and metaphorical “waste” by forming a relationship with it. Those interested in attending this workshop are invited to save and organize their paper waste by color (see guidelines for details) and to bring their old journal entries, or write down their intentions which will be transformed into a receptacle. As we all create our forms, we can see how we have been shaped by our experiences, and have the ability to grow and transform, finding wisdom within our process. The ancient art of papermaking evokes a slow meditative process, where we must be present with the materials at hand. This is the opportunity to introspect, and actively infuse the process with inner transmissions. These bowls will become lighting fixtures and be displayed as an installation at the final event symbolizing the insight that comes from slowing down and being with our own resiliency.




Ryan Heffington is a Grammy nominated, Emmy winning choreographer and director. His career has included The Sweat Spot dance studio and event venue in Los Angeles, which transitioned to an online dance class SWEATFEST during the pandemic and raised thousands for charities like Black Lives Matter and LGBTQI+. Pioneering contemporary dance in a commercial context, he has achieved global exposure, and his work has been featured in commercials, TV, and films from HBO to Cannes. He is currently developing a residency in Twentynine Palms for multi-disciplinary creatives, building community and events as he did in LA for nearly 30 years.


Jai Knight is a non-binary interdisciplinary artist currently living in SW USA. Their work consists of the transformation of literal and metaphorical waste into physical artwork and socially engaged projects integrating ritual in connection with land. Jai received their BFA in painting at Daemen College and has studied land stewardship throughout Chile, 3 month permaculture mentorship Ecoescuela Vivencial, 9 month study at Dhamma Dena Meditation Center, Certification in Permaculture and Advanced social systems design with the Women's Permaculture Guild and works occasionally with Linda Sibio's Cracked Eggs Project. Jai has been an artist in Residence at A-Z West in Joshua Tree, CA (2022), UTE AIR in Sunshine Valley, NM (2021-2022), and Lookout Arts Quarry (March/April 2023). Jai's current work with House Oracle Project integrates natural ink making, woodblock printing, poetry, collaborative meaning making, and community education and recycling through "Recycling Center" paper-making workshop.


Douglas Blanc is an Afro-futurist writer and visual artist living in Joshua Tree, CA. He is the author of several science fiction stories featured in Simultaneous Times, produced and published by Space Cowboy Books. His short story, “Come Home, Laika” was a finalist for the 2023 Washington Science Fiction Association Small Press Award. Douglas was awarded a Speculative Storytelling Mentorship with Ancestral Futures in 2021. He has completed his first novel, an Afro-futurist science fantasy, The Downsider, which is awaiting publication. In addition to writing, Douglas is a painter and visual artist whose work has been shown in local galleries, art fairs and the annual Art Tours Open Studios. He is the founder and facilitator of the Mojave Artists of Color Collective, a peer-led organization for BIPOC artists, writers, and creatives in the Morongo Basin. He is also a practicing massage therapist and Qi Gong teacher in the Joshua Tree area.


Tania "T" Hammidi (she/they/them) is a Lebanese-American writer and performer based in Joshua Tree, Ca. Their work integrates queer storytelling, desert ecology, drag cabaret. Hammidi is art director of the bi-annual “Queer Salon” at the Joshua Tree Music Festival, and founder/archivist of Hi-Desert Queer and Trans Oral History Project, honored with a 2023 California Humanities Quick Grant. Hammidi holds a Ph.D. in Critical Dance Studies, M.S. in Community Development and B.S. in Creative Writing. Hammidi's recent performances and publications include: “Emergence: MACC Collective Exhibit” at Compound YV, “Lady Chilane’s Hi-Desert Pride Cabaret” at Joshua Tree Trading Post, “Farming the Mojave: Joshua Tree's Local Stewards” (Joshua Tree Voice, May2022), “California Desert Dates: A Story of Determination & Native Stewardship” (Luna Arcana, Dec. 2020), and “Busted by a Sailor” in Feckless Cunt anthology, (2018).


Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs Through an interdisciplinary practice that incorporates sound, sculpture, scent, and collective performance, artist/composer Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs creates new myths and their paraphernalia: hymns, relics, costume, instruments, rites and rituals for an alternate past, and still-possible future. Riggs is the creator of the site-responsive performance ensemble, Song of Eurydice and leads Community Chorus, an experimental, drop-in chorus. She has presented work at MOCA LA, the de Young Museum, Hammer Museum, the Getty Center, REDCAT, the Broad Museum, High Desert Test Sites, Anchorage Museum, and CURRENT:LA Public Works Triennial and her work has been featured in X-TRA, New York Times Magazine, Artforum, Rookie, and NYLON.


Peter O'Leary is a filmmaker living in Twentynine Palms, CA. He earned his BA from Oberlin College, and attended NYU Grad Film’s MFA program in directing and cinematography. After working in independent narrative films and music videos for many years, more recently Peter has focused his craft on advocacy work and documentary. He is known for his minimalist “one-man-band” style of production. In various capacities, his work has screened on television, in galleries, and at 100's of festivals, including Sundance. Vimeo twice featured his cinematography as “Staff Picks”. His work has generated 100’s of millions of views on social media.




Dance & Ecology - Christi Walton, Benjamin Vital

Storytelling - Jonathan Andre Culliton, Katherine Roberts

Voter Activism - Brianna Dandurand, Carly Foulkes

Emotional Transformation - Brandon Bolds, Quisha Henderson

Videographer - Graham Kolbeins


Creative Team


Creative Producer - Caroline Partamian

Administrator - Stacey Solie

PAAC Project Lead - Kate Lee Short

Graphic Design - Ashlyn Harris