Desert Canvas: All At Once

Desert Canvas All at once. A lifestyle, an event, a community.

A year ago, I stumbled upon this fascinating and collaborative community called Desert Canvas. I participated in a life-changing co-working and co-living community. I worked with designers, Full-Bright scholars, environmental scientists, Ph.D professors from Egypt, Afghanistan, all over the United States to create workshops, events, and a community home environment.

I first found out about Desert Canvas through the Rebirth Music Festival event in Tempe, AZ. It was an awakening! An entirely new lifestyle coworking and coliving in the startup community was born!

Rebirth Music Festival at Desert Canvas.

I became a Desert Canvas leader and focused on creating this movement into a fully-formed nonprofit organization. I coordinated with my leaders Paulina Miligan and Caitlin MacMurtrie. My intern was Dillion Ragudnandan. I coordinated with the founders of Desert Canvas altogether for my first check-in, Todd Van Duzer and Vladimir Madorsky. These guys listened to my pitch about how to create Desert Canvas into a fully formed nonprofit organization. The change of my life was happening so rapidly! With my Bachelor’s Degree in Nonprofit Management and my experience as an award-winning leader in the Nonprofit field, this became a perfect with along with my new love for the music festival scene.

Co-Living and Co-working the Ancient Future Festival with Desert Canvas roommates and friends.

The CEO announced that the program would now offer a co-living and co-working experience for those most dedicated to pursuing a fulfilling life with other Desert Canvas leaders. Not knowing how this would happen, I went for it and immediately made arrangements to move into my new community. My landlord miraculously let me out of my lease with zero commitments to pay off the rest of my balance. He even gave me back my deposit and wished me the best of luck in my future endeavors! He is still a great contact for me on LinkedIn.

Volunteers with Trees Matter with Desert Canvas leaders and co-working team

The passionate, exciting, thrilling, and oh so scary experience was now in full swing. There was no turning back. I had found a new home filled with new leaders of a whole new stripe to connect with in both my home environment and through the Desert Canvas program event and the leadership, goal-development courses.

My roommates were Full-bright Scholars, environmental scientists, dancers, photographers, yoga instructors, and me the nonprofit specialist with an artistic heart. All of varying ages, origins, races, and cultures we all came together to make our lives more enriching. Like all roommates, even with clear goals and structures in place, we experienced our tough days.

On my first night moving into the Desert Canvas home, my roommates Caitlin, Robert, Leah, and Stephen built a chicken coop in our backyard. Within a few weeks, I decided to compliment by tilling the soil in the garden bed. All the while, we all coordinated to help co host the Desert Canvas yoga events in the park at Papago.

My roomates and friends: Environmental Scientists and Ph.D professors co-living Desert Canvas
My roommates and friends: Dancers and Yoga Instructors building chicken coops and co-living with Desert Canvas

All of these amazing events happened to me because I believed in myself and my goals. I took a step outside of my comfort zone and learned to collaborate successfully with a group of people from different ages, backgrounds, cultures, and national origins to create a co-working and co-living environment where we produced workshops, gardens, chicken coops, and weekly events for others. The experience of a lifetime!

Photo Credit: Christopher Hall

I can’t wait to share more about this. But until then, thanks for reading!

All the best,

Ty Ashley

The Creative Rebel

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