Cheryl Montelle | Episode 29

Cheryl has been living in the desert since 1991, having grown up in St. Louis and literally dancing her way to New York City in the 1970's and eventually to Los Angeles and the Mojave. After the Sawtooth fire took her cabin near Rimrock Ranch, Cheryl wrote about her experience which eventually gave way to the creation of an always sold-out semi-annual fundraising event called 'Desert Stories', now in it's 11th year. In this episode, Cheryl talks about the inspiration behind Mil-Tree, a non-profit organization that brings veterans and civilians in the community together to experience healing and understand through art. These workshops include everything from making paper and then using that paper to hold the writings of participants, accompanied by spoken word to the creation of 'Sanctuary', an earth-bag construction project that included the construction of the structure as well as the creation of the metal works and ceramics adorning this place of reverence (go to to see the video). Mil-Tree's upcoming workshop 'Moving the Memories', is close to Cheryl's heart, being a dancer. Mil-Tree partners with Diavolo Dance and Arts Connection of San Bernardino County to present a two-day movement workshop and presentation lead by Diavolo Architecture in Motion for veterans, active military and the community. (March 31 to April 1, 2018).

Though initially devastating, Cheryl likens the tragic loss of her first desert home to that of a phoenix rising, which gave way to a transformation of her creativity.

Mentioned in this episode:

Cheryl's Website


Diavolo Dance

The Lotus Eaters, by Tatjana Soli

The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien

War and the Soul, by Dr. Edward Tick