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Affordable Art Classes for Everyone!

About the 29 Palms Creative Center & Gallery


Art is Everything!

Ever since she was a child, Gretchen just wanted to do art, nothing else. That single-minded intensity never wavered, through childhood illness, through years away at college, and living in Central California afterward.

   When Gretchen Grunt was 9 years old, she was waiting in front of the Creative Center building to have her portrait done by Don Malone and had a premonition, “I’m going to do something here!” 

A dream come true.

In 2003, Gretchen was offered the opportunity to make her dream a reality — to start the Creative Center and Gallery. With a lot of sweat, strong vision, and community support, she built a place to create and sell art. She added the classes in 2008 and began serving the homeschool community in 2010.


Gretchen believes in the creative spirit in every person and encourages every adult and child who comes in to express themselves with their own colors. It’s just paint! There’s nothing to be afraid of!

   When Gretchen founded the Creative Center, she made a deal with her mom, Jane, that no student would be turned away due to financial difficulty. To help provide scholarships for the Creative Center Kids Art Grant Program, she is always accepting donations.

The heart, spirit and encouragement for Gretchen’s lifelong art, focus, education and career came from her mother,  Jane Grunt Smith.

Jane Grunt Smith

August 11, 1941 - July 22, 2021

Jane always saw potential in the people of this world and shared what she had to further this potential. Her positive outlook, creativity and endless energy was infectious, attracting talented visionaries from all over the world. Jane entirely immersed herself, not only in the Inn, but also in the local community and into the preservation of the greater desert. Jane’s ideas and all of her actions were solidly grounded in her spiritual connection with God and the beauty of the Earth. Jane has left an example for her family, her friends, and even those who never met her, as to how one should carry themselves while on this planet. Her message to all was that one should leave this place and this world better than they found it, as "life is precious".


29 Palms Inn

A Grunt family tradition

The Grunt family planted it's roots in the area in 1928, when Robert "Doc" and Claire "Mama" Van Lahr purchased the 29 Palms Inn and surrounding land. The Inn is far more than just a family business; it is a lifestyle that brings the joy to people from all walks of life, gathering for celebration. When Jane took over the running of the Inn, she poured her absolute passion for caregiving and nourishing others into the business. Under her watch, the Inn blossomed to become even more of a place where people would come to renew their souls, taste delightful food, rest their bodies, be creative and discover the beauty of the desert.

I am so grateful for my community of friends, family and clients who support my precious life. It is overwhelmingly amazing!



My gratitude continues as reflection of how the many millennia of people before paved the way to where I stand today, sacred ancestral land called the Oasis of Mara.

We celebrated Jane's precious life and love in this sacred place by setting clay birds free into the palm trees.

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