Born in France, Marie Bobin's first experience with desert was a trip with friends to Death Valley. It was a last minute, 'let’s get out of LA for the weekend' kind of trip – in August. Marie says they drove a lot, got out of the car to snap a few photos, then jumped back into the air conditioned car.
Marie's family moved to California when she was in her preteen years. With a background in performing arts and producing, Marie started her career in London with a pub theatre, producing shows for four years and then came back to the states working with museums and cultural centers. Though she has lived in Thailand and London, she says she always returns to the Golden State.
Looking for a change of pace from Los Angeles and being self-described national park lovers, Marie and her husband were considering areas near Yellowstone and other places. In this episode, Marie says when she mentioned Joshua Tree, her husband said, "The desert?!", but after a number of short day trips out here, he started to fall in love with the place just as Marie had. They put their house in Topanga on the market - it sold in 10 days. Marie immediately found work. Marie says, "The doors just kept opening, confirmation that this is where we were supposed to be".
Moving to the area without knowing anyone, Marie attended Kip’s book club, 2nd Saturdays in Joshua Tree and other events around town, where she started to meet her community.
With a background in cultural programming and consulting, Marie became involved with local non-profits Harrison House, Joshua Tree Retreat Center and Mil-Tree, of which she in now holds a board position. She also met Jenny Kane, Executive Director of Arts Connection, where the idea for applying for the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Grant happened.
Marie says she immediately recognized the good work so many Morongo Basin organizations were already doing. It was her desire to produce an event that would support and enhance their work. Being familiar with the NEA Big Read grant, Marie was certain it would be the right vehicle to pull all these organizations together for one big cultural event.
An entire month of free events - with something for everyone - are scheduled during September, beginning with the kick off at Mojave Desert Land Trust Headquarters on September 7, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. To view and download the schedule of events, visit Arts Connection of San Bernardino or check out Big Read Morongo Basin on Facebook and follow them on Instagram @BigReadMorongoBasin.