Creative Entrepreneur Anna Stump is Developing an Arts Center in the Mojave Desert

Creative Entrepreneur Anna Stump is Developing an Arts Center in the Mojave Desert

Southern California artist Anna Stump’s projects range from portraits and nudes, to images of piñatas at Trump’s border wall, and site-specific murals of rattlesnakes and desert flora. She earned a Fulbright to Turkey, has participated in residencies from Mexico to Iceland, and is part of the creative duo Hill & Stump. In addition to exhibiting her paintings in galleries and museums, and sharing her skills with others, Stump is developing an interactive arts center in the community of Twentynine Palms in the Mojave Desert.

Not Real Art Artist Of The Day Series

Stump earned an MFA from San Diego State University, founded a feminist arts coalition, and taught at a local correctional institution. She currently teaches art at Grossman College. Her venture, Mojaveland, combines an immersive miniature golf course, which invites visitors and other artists to participate in the design, with exhibitions, gardens, performance spaces, and creative studios to attract children and families who might not otherwise be exposed to art.

Mojaveland, as currently envisioned, will have several components: a miniature golf course designed by High Desert artists (including myself) in the spirit of Noah Purifoy, a pedal cart course through murals and sculpture, artist exhibits, native desert gardens, performance spaces, and a restored 1940s homestead that will serve as gallery and meeting place. Eventually the project will also encompass education and design studios to allow children to design and build their own golf holes, pedal carts and other artworks.

Stump’s visionary approach stems from a belief that ‘art saves lives,’ gained from years of working with college students and incarcerated adults. Her goal is to steer artists out of the ‘starvation trap’ and guide them towards scholarship and entrepreneurship. By restoring a neglected homestead on eighteen acres of desert, and encouraging others to contribute their imagination and skills, Stump makes good on her conviction that art is ‘as essential as breathing.’ An arresting mural of a snake that she painted to anoint the site is a harbinger of good things to come.

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Anna Stump — Artist Statement

Anna Stump Headshot
Anna Stump

I am building an interactive art center called Mojaveland in Twentynine Palms, California, that combines art and sports. I have been working on the project for about 18 months, and have purchased commercial property that is zoned for a small amusement park. Before moving forward with permitted construction and investment, I am self-funding a prototype of the miniature golf course, along with several artist exhibits.

Mission statement for the project: Mojaveland is an immersive arts center in the form of an amusement park/family fun center. Through the experiences of seeing, interacting with, and making art, both visual and performing, we expose guests and local citizens to the wonders and challenges of art and design. The Project encourages learning, community involvement and tolerance of difference. I use sports in combination with artmaking to counteract the elitism normally associated with the arts. I especially hope to reach children who may not be exposed to the arts.

Anna Stump – Grant Submission Work

Anna Stump. Mojave Green Rattlesnake Mural, Mojaveland
Mojave Green Rattlesnake Mural, Mojaveland
Acrylic on stucco
Approx: 10 H x 40 feet L

I created this mural on the old homestead on the property of Mojaveland. The Mojave Green rattlesnake is one of the most venomous snakes in the desert, but also one of the most beautiful. I use it as a talisman to protect the property.

Anna Stump. Guapamacataro Mural
Guapamacataro Mural
Guapamacataro Hacienda, Michoacan, Mexico
Acrylic on plaster wall
Approx: 12 H x 18 feet W

I painted this mural, commissioned by Alicia Marvan, at the Guapamacataro Artist Residency in 2019. My mural work is highly site specific–I try to have a very light touch and allow walls to continue to speak in their environment. This mural explores the lovely grounds of a 300 year old Mexican hacienda in a rural village outside Morelia in the State of Michoacan, Mexico.

Anna Stump. Heaven/Earth/Hell
Acrylic and collage on found metal
4 H x 9 feet W

“Heaven/Earth/Hell” is a modern-day homage to Bosch's "Garden of Earthly Delights." The piece is representative of my current practice, "Desert Metal," in which I repurpose old metal and tools that have been aged by the harsh climate. I am exploring themes of skyscapes, Mojave wildlife, jackrabbit homesteads, and military surveillance and aggression. My background growing up on the US/Mexico Border, another militarized space, has affected how I interact with my new desert home.

Anna Stump. Large Godzilla Over Trump's Wall
Large Godzilla Over Trump's Wall
Mixed media on panel
4 x 3 feet

This painting is part of an ongoing series of work I created to address my hometown, Chula Vista, and my relationship to the Border. I was appalled at what happened at the Border under Trump's presidency, and I continue to be disturbed at the treatment of refugees being stopped there. This work also portrays the wildfires that are plaguing California because of climate change.

Anna Stump. Helicopter Apocalypse over Joshua Tree (triptych)
Helicopter Apocalypse over Joshua Tree (triptych)
Mural on canvas
Approx: 6 H x 12 feet W

This mural is painted on canvas, and was originally installed at the Joshua Tree Art Gallery. It addresses the omnipotence of the military in the desert. I will be installing it at Mojaveland.

Anna Stump – Artist Bio

Anna Stump is an artist, arts educator, and creative entrepreneur living in Twentynine Palms and Los Angeles. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree at Occidental College and her Master of Fine Arts at San Diego State University. She is currently developing an artist residency and arts center in the High Desert.

Anna was a Senior Fulbright Scholar to Turkey in 2006-2007, where she taught an Anadolu University. She is the founder of the Feminist Image Group in San Diego, which has over 60 members. For several years she taught at Donovan State Correctional Institution. She is one half of the painting team Hill&Stump, and currently works collaboratively with several desert artists. Anna is on the Board of the Sugar Museum in San Diego, and is the Coordinator of Education at the 29 Palms Art Gallery. She has recently been awarded residencies in Ireland, France, Mexico, and Iceland.

Anna on the Web And Social Media

Here is where to find out more about Anna Stump on the web and social media:

About the Artist of the Day Series

All artworks have been published with permission of the artist. Our "Artist of the Day" series is a regular feature highlighting artworks from the 100's of grant applications we receive. The "Not Real Art Grant" is an annual award designed to empower the careers of contemporary artists, and this is one way we honor all entries we receive. Find out more about the grant program here.


#california, arts center, botanical, children, contemporary art, desert artist, interactive, mural, painting, performance, site-specific, sports

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