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California Welcome Center Yucca Valley Art Festival Winners Announced

CWC Art Festival

Aboce: Winning artists of the first CWC Art Festival Contest were, left to right, Mitch Miller, John Henson, Susan Priest, Paperscaper, Jayne Schelden, and Louis Hernandez. Photo by Rossana Jeran.

Yucca Valley, CA – The California Welcome Center (CWC) in Yucca Valley hosted a successful first CWC Art Festival on Saturday and Sunday, May 4 and 5. The event was staged in the large parking area behind the center and featured 30 artist booths, food vendors, and music.

A highlight of the festival was announcement of the winners of the festival’s CWC Art Contest, which was launched in January inviting California artists to compete for the opportunity to be a featured consigner in the welcome center gift shop for one year. Sixty entries of California-themed artwork were submitted by artists from the desert and other state regions for the inaugural contest.

On Saturday morning, Executive Director Kathie Ammar and festival organizers announced the six winning artists who were chosen in various categories.

John Henson of Yucca Valley won for mixed media, Mitch Miller of Joshua Tree for photography, Jayne Schelden of Yucca Valley for painting, and Vince “Paperscaper” Calanoc of Glendale for Assemblage. Two winners were selected for jewelry, Louis Hernandez of Joshua Tree and Susan Priest of Running Springs. The winning artwork is now on display at the welcome center.

A panel of five professional artists served as judges for the 2019 contest:

  • Bill Copeland, an airbrush artist since the 1970s in the Southern California automotive culture and commissioned artist currently living in Yucca Valley.
  • Ed Keesling, artist, ceramicist, art instructor, former president of Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council, and art education chair for the 29 Palms Art Gallery.
  • Michael McCall, curator, multidisciplinary artist, and current exhibition curator and Executive Director of the Yucca Valley Visual and Performing Arts Center.
  • Terry Lee Stone, creative strategist, faculty member of Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, board member of Joshua Tree Retreat Center and president of their Whole Arts Auxiliary.
  • Marcella Swett, multi-media artist, senior artisan at the Walt Disney Company, former art instructor and curator, and creator of murals and paintings at festivals throughout Southern California.

Souvenir catalogs featuring artwork submitted for the CWC Art Contest and the artists’ booths participating in the Art Festival are available at the California Welcome Center. For more information and announcement of future events, visit the website at

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