These are some of the folks we believe exemplify the best spirit of the Morongo Basin.

Jennifer Ruggiero, March 2021 Morongo Basin Original

It gives us great pleasure to name Jennifer Ruggiero the March 2021 Morongo Basin Original. There are many multi-talented artists and technicians in the Basin who follow their own lights, and Jennifer is certainly one of those. She is accomplished and acclaimed in both still photography and film and is an experienced media arts teacher. She plays jazz flute as well. Enjoy browsing her work and follow her on Instagram at jennifer_ruggiero_photography. But what specifically qualifies Jennifer as a Morongo Basin Original this month is the care she enacts for the land and community…


Tommy Dodson, February 2021 Morongo Basin Original

We're so pleased to announce that our Morongo Basin Original for February 2021 is Tommy Dodson. Tommy, a Morongo Valley resident, is, at first blush, extraordinary for his music career, which showed promise when he was only four years old and has continued all his life, at one point taking him around the world as an acclaimed cruise ship and cabaret performer. His repertoire includes classical piano, rock 'n roll, and jazz. He is a popular performer in and around the Coachella Valley and up and down the California coast, from Los Angeles to…


Angela Mia Torres, Morongo Basin Original for December 2020

The Artists LeFey are pleased to name Angela Mia Torres as December's Morongo Basin Original. What makes Mia stand out to us is that many extraordinary qualities come together in her: she is an innovative artisan, a fine crafter, a community organizer, an activist, a reliable support, and a good friend. She cares without discrimination for people, animals, and the environment. The Artists LeFey met Mia when she championed the revival of the dormant Joshua Tree Pride celebration, drawing together poets and actors and singers and speakers and parade-goers and cooks and servers and…


Janis Commentz, November 2020 Morongo Basin Original

The Artists LeFey are delighted to celebrate Janis Commentz as November 2020’s Morongo Basin Original. A resident of Joshua Tree, Janis exemplifies Morongo Basin Spirit as an artist, educator, and humanitarian. We are impressed with her generous and innovative spirit and with how wide she throws the net that includes who deserves the love, service, compassion, and justice that she offers and promotes. A woman of faith, Janis continually makes it clear that she lives according to the dictates of her own conscience and resists being dictated to even by people she loves and…


Rolo Castillo, October 2020 Morongo Basin Original

We're happy to celebrate Rolo Castillo as October 2020's Morongo Basin Original. A resident of Joshua Tree, Rolo brings a lifelong appreciation of diversity and the arts to the high desert Basin. As an entrepreneur and self-proclaimed Graphic Dictator, Rolo creates art, and also invests in promoting and creating opportunities for others without adverse bias. With Joshua Tree's Taylor Junction and Arttrap Gallery and a hand in area shows and festivals, Rolo is a virtual center of positivity. Exemplifying Morongo Basin Spirit with an attitude of true appreciation for others in all their variety,…


Penny Wurst, August Morongo Basin Original

The Artists LeFey relocated to the Morongo Basin a couple years ago, and one thing we appreciate so much is the social consciousness that so many unique people exhibit here. We appreciate and admire those who confidently express their individuality and fearlessly support the rights of others as worthy equals. So we created "Morongo Basin Original" with the express intent of celebrating these wonderful people found here in the high desert, and we invite others to join their ranks. We announce with delight our first standout as a Morongo Basin Original: Morongo Valley's Penny…


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