San Bernardino

Around the Counties: Navigating the San Bernardino County Landscape with Kim Stringfellow

by Stringfellow.jpg

Today, we take a closer look into the art scene of San Bernardino County.

Columnist Kim Stringfellow shares what led her to live in the desert, and lists some of her favorite places in the region.

An active artist, Stringfellow also gives us an insight on her upcoming project and tells us why you should head out to the Joshua Tree Art Gallery this weekend.

What makes San Bernardino County so attractive?

San Bernardino is a really large area. It's actually one of the biggest counties in the state. I'm a fairly new resident here. I live in Joshua Tree and I've been here for about three years, but I've been coming out to this area for over 15 years. I like the fact that it's a remote area but there's culture here. There's a really interesting arts community that's located out in the Morongo Basin and a very diverse group of creative people.

I originally moved out here after working on this project, called "Jackrabbit Homestead." That was the incentive. I met a lot of the creative community here. Another incentive was looking for a smaller community that I felt I could have some sort of input in. A lot of people I know here are very involved in the local community issues. And, you know, just because it's really beautiful too.

Keeler, CA, 2012. | Photo: Kim Stringfellow.

What are some of your favorite art venues?

  • The Red Arrow is a gallery that I showed at. It's a really popular art gallery, especially [during] the openings. It's a real focal point for community. They do some creative programming too. They just got done doing a show where people brought in works they bought at thrift stores, not recycled, but really cool finds. Some of the stuff was really fun. It was like a found art show.
  • Pappy & Harriet's is a really cool place, up in Pioneer Town. We get a lot of really good bands that come through there, both local and a lot of people that just want to play up there. There's some big names sometimes that come through. It's a very small desert honky-tonk.
  • Art Queen Gallery is run by Shari Elf and was just featured [on Artbound.]
  • Oh yeah the [World Famous Crochet Museum,] that's fantastic. It's in a little trailer. I would say that's a really great thing to go visit here.

Do you see any art trends in San Bernardino County?

You know people sort of come and go. There's some people that are based here full time.

If I was going to talk about what people do, people definitely respond to the landscape. Most of the artists in residency programs do something on some level that responds to the landscape and the beauty of the space out here.

It's hard for me to answer because I'm not really interested in trends, to tell you the truth. I sort of avoid what's trendy at the time.

You're an active artist. Can you tell us about your project, There It Is--Take It,! the self guided car audio tour?

Yeah. That one is actually in production. It's going to be released in a couple of months. It's about the history of the Los Angeles aqueduct and how it has affected both Los Angeles and the area that the water is taken from, which is the Owens Valley.

Can you recommend an art event to the Artbound audience that's taking place this weekend? Why should people attend?

JTAG, which is the Joshua Tree Art Gallery, is one of the newer [galleries] and they're having a show. They have a residency program, and its international. There's a German artist, and two artists from New York City showing the work that they've been doing over the course of the summer. I'm going to go this weekend, and I think that should be interesting.

I think it's a chance to see something refreshing and interesting and to just support the local art scene, the galleries, and to see how artists from out of the area are responding to our community and to this particular place. I was fortunate enough to meet these three artists that are at this residency, last weekend. They all sound like they're doing some cool stuff. Two are painters and one is a multimedia artist.

Self portrait. | Photo: Kim Stringfellow.

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Top Image: "Abandoned Trailer." Bombay Beach, CA. 2000. | Kim Stringfellow.

About the Author

Melody Soto is a journalist living in the San Fernando Valley.
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