Desert Initiative

An investigation of pressing issues facing desert communities through partnerships between arts and cutlure and science and technology.

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About the Desert Initiative


Desert Initiative is a broad collaborative initiative bringing together diverse partners including artists, scientists, educators, museums, public agencies, nonprofit organizations and others in support of transdisciplinary research and investigation of pressing issues facing desert communities including water, energy, land use, desertification and climate change.

At the heart of the Desert Initiative is the belief that the arts are a powerful tool and catalyst for social change, a way of knowing and investigating the world and a source of the innovation needed to address increasingly pressing issues of global concern. Other elements of Desert Initiative include land art, public art, planning, advocacy, art and technology + art and science collaborations and consideration of stewardship and sustainability.

Desert Initiative is supported by Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and ASU Art Museum, supporting independent and collaborative research into desert cultures and environments through the arts and sciences.


ARID: A Journal of Desert Art, Design and Ecology is a peer-reviewed bi-annual journal focusing on cross-disciplinary explorations of desert arts, design, culture and the environment for both scholarly and new audiences. ARID seeks submissions of scholarly articles, curriculum, visual essays and other media, including sound and video, that investigate diverse aesthetic, social, cultural, historical, ecological and political subjects related to desert regions of the American Southwest and beyond. ARID emphasizes the convergence of art, design and culture with science, ecology, geography and other related disciplines to create a unique snapshot of and dialog about desert environs and cultures with a vested and active interest in the desert as a point of creative investigation.

Miguel Palma’s “Remote Desert Shuttle” | 2013 | ASU Art Museum Desert Initiative