An eclipse is a phenomenal event, like the emerging of an artist, according to Joan Sowinski, director of Hesperia's Eclipse Art Gallery.

Originally interested in being a physical therapist, Sowinski emerged an artist herself. She took one art class and discovered that's where she belonged, so she took all the art classes Victor Valley College offered, Sowinski said.

She opened Eclipse in 2010 because she wanted artists such as herself to be featured locally without having to drive out of town to exhibit their work. Outside galleries charge up to 60 percent commission, while Sowinski said she charges 30 percent.

Curator William Cisneros learns new art knowledge daily from Sowinski and is honored to work for her, he said.

"In love with it the High Desert's deeply thirsty for visual arts," said artist Anna-Marie Veloz, who's also an art professor at VVC. The gallery gives her a place to display and discuss her art with artists of various ages. She also occasionally teaches her students there.

Beverly Kennell, whose photography focuses on abstract, landscapes and nature, creates flyers for the gallery and photographs every reception.

"There isn't a single opportunity like this in the High Desert for artists on a monthly basis," said Kennell, whose work is displayed often.

With a new theme every month, artists can work with a variety of mediums: photography, painting, ceramics, glass (fusing and slumping) and fabrics, making each show unique.

During the next reception on Saturday, attendees will have the chance to contribute to a work of textile art. A loom will be used to add new pieces throughout the night to a larger piece.

"Art can always be spontaneous," said Sowinski.

Two upcoming events are Street Art and Emerging Artists. Artists who want to be displayed at the gallery should research past and upcoming themes at, then attend an event and make an appointment to bring in photos of their art.

Sowinski said artists find affirmation in their work through simply displaying it.

Although Cisneros has had two solo shows, he likes his art to "be in the spotlight," instead of him, Cisneros said.

A visit to Eclipse "excites the senses," said professor Benn Johnston, a photographer who teaches psychology and criminal justice at VVC.

"Discussing something visual in speech is like trying to describe music and not use sounds and tone," he said.

Eclipse has a gift shop in immediate need of handmade artwork to sell for a 30-percent consignment fee.

Eclipse Art Gallery is located across from VVC at 18361 Bear Valley Road, suite 7 in Hesperia and is open from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, contact Cisneros at (760) 373-6041 or email him at

Sowinski also owns Burning House Art Studio, which offers workshops in ceramics, landscape photography and watercolor painting. Burning House is located at 14015 Pioneer Road in Apple Valley. For more information, go to