Coachella Valley students look for the canvas they contributed to Desert X artist Oscar Murillo’s Frequencies project. PHOTOGRAPHS BY CARL SCHOEMIG

Coachella Valley students likely have several mementos from the past 14 months of virtual schooling from home, but they recently had a chance to become part of an international art project.

Desert X artist Oscar Murillo began Frequencies in 2013, asking students to participate in his international art project by creating whatever they wanted to on a blank canvas. In the past seven years, more than 300 schools in 30 countries have participated and gathered more than 30,000 canvases that have been added to a digital library, according to

Unlike past participants who created their pieces in school, Coachella Valley students were based at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to the canvas, students were armed with acrylic paint, markers, pencils and more.


Samantha shows off her contribution to artist Oscar Murillo’s Frequencies project.

“Usually the canvases stay in the classroom and the students paint or draw on them in the school,” explains Susan Davis, founder of Desert X. “The art this time is an example of that moment in time when they were created —during a pandemic, almost like an art journal.”

Murillo was one of a dozen artists whose work were part of Desert X 2021, a biennial, site-specific art exhibition that recently closed after opening in February. At the closing Desert X event May 15, students were able to claim their canvas and show it off to family at the Coachella Valley Art Center in Indio

Davis says 1,000 blank canvases were distributed to Coachella Valley students and more than 500 were returned completed. One of those students, Samantha, excitedly looked through stacks of the canvases laid out on tables at the arts center in order to show her finished product to her family.

“It was fun and exciting, and it really let me show off what I can do with art,” says Samantha, who adds being part of Frequencies will increase her desire to keep participating in the arts going forward.