Joshua Tree, CA
Grant Cycle:
Type of Grant:
Multimedia, Residency

High Desert Test Sites is a platform for art and experiences that enable us to step outside everyday life and envision new possibilities. The organization is based at A-Z West–Andrea Zittel’s 80-acre compound and artwork in Joshua Tree, CA where HDTS brings together artists, writers, and thinkers to create projects that engage the desert and its communities.

High Desert Test Sites (HDTS) was co-founded in 2002 by Andrea Zittel, Andy Stillpass, John Connelly, Shaun Regen, and Lisa Anne Auerbach. Over the course of its 20-year history, HDTS has produced and presented site-specific art installations, performances, and ephemeral events throughout the Morongo Basin region of California. HDTS has hosted the work of more than 460 artists, 12 expansive multi-site programs, and 25 site-specific individual art projects.

HDTS was founded with the mission of engaging the local desert audience through contemporary art. The organization seeks to create an ongoing dialogue with the community and to evolve its programming in line with that exchange. Each project is highly considerate of the rural landscape and local population, taking into account the organization’s footprint on the environment, the relevance of its programming to the issues faced by local residents, and the scale and level of intimacy that can be achieved with its audience.

Due to the collaborative nature of its work, HDTS has established strong working relationships with a number of organizations and groups, including the Copper Mountain Mesa Community Center, Noah Purifoy Foundation, Bob Carr and the Crystal Cave, MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Socrates Sculpture Park, and the Hammer Museum.

In 2022, HDTS took over management of A-Z West, original Founding Director Andrea Zittel’s home, studio, and testing site for artworks and experimental designs in living. This transition expands the organization’s capacity, resources, support, and visibility in the community, and offers new opportunities for programming. Zittel has assumed the role of HDTS Creative Director, and the organization has expanded its board with a focus on fundraising capacity, to help sustain the increased overhead of maintaining a large-scale site in advance of hiring a new, full time Executive Director.