Jarvis Crawford, the community center manager at the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center in Palm Springs, is one of three new board members for Desert X, a nonprofit organization that produces site-specific installations by acclaimed international artists every two years in the Coachella Valley.
Crawford was born and raised in the Coachella Valley, and works with the Palm Springs Parks & Recreation Department at the community center. While there, he has managed and implemented new structures, programs and activities serving the community.
A graduate of Palm Springs High School, Crawford holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Langston University in Oklahoma. After returning to the Palm Springs area to raise a family and give back to the community, Crawford has for more than 20 years contributed time to many boards groups and committees — all with a focus on community service, education and youth leadership.
Crawford previously held board positions at Well in the Desert and Palm Springs Police Activities League, and is currently an advisor for Palm Springs High School’s Black Student Union. He is a member of the Martin Luther King Commemoration Committee and the California Parks & Recreation Society, District 11, having served as president. He is a faithful member in several ministries at First Baptist Church of Palm Springs and assists in many Black History Month activities. He and his wife, Resha, and their two children live in Desert Hot Springs.
“We are growing a formidable, diverse board that brings the resources, expertise, vision and courage we need as Desert X advances its mission to promote cultural exchange, new dialogue and understanding through art that is accessible to all,” said Desert X President and Founder Susan Davis in making the announcement of Crawford’s appointment on November 18.
Also joining Crawford on the 16-member board are Nicholas Galanin, Desert X 2021 artist; and Commissioner Guillermo “Bill” Sanchez, chairman, Riverside County Planning Commission, principal of Capital Building Services in Rancho Mirage and partner at Memo Design, an architectural design firm.
The organization, which has drawn a total audience of more than 1.25 million to its three previous exhibitions in the Coachella Valley and has received critical acclaim and worldwide attention, also announced the next dates for the event will be March 4 through May 7, 2023.
“Desert X 2023 presents a compelling opportunity to connect communities around the globe, especially when it comes to how we survive in a world with increasingly volatile environmental conditions,” said Desert X 2023 Co-curator Diana Campbell. “For my first project of this scale in the United States I am driven to draw translocal connections across contexts of extreme weather – from the droughts of the California desert to the floods of Bangladesh.”
Mara Gladstone, who led the public and educational programming for the exhibition in 2021, has been named to the newly-created position of deputy director and head of programs. Gladstone was previously a curator at the Palm Springs Art Museum. Diane Mailey, who most recently was director of the Institute at the Golden Gate, a program of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in San Francisco, has been named director of development. Gladstone and Mailey join an expanding and accomplished executive and curatorial team led by Artistic Director Neville Wakefield and Executive Director Jenny Gil.
“Desert X has grown into a catalyzing force in the community and this expanded team will invigorate our public and education programs and increase community impact,” said Desert X Executive Director Jenny Gil.