Barefooted jump for joy amongst the flowers with Michelle Castillo

Michelle Castillo photographed by Eyoalha Baker for Palm Springs Cultural Center Artist Residency

This was such a fun day! I got to meet and do jumps with a bunch of awesome Wyld Womxn! I loved Michelle’s open and playful energy right away. I could relate easily to her love of nature and her desire to be barefoot for the photos (I also love to be barefoot in the dirt!). It only took a couple of jumps to get this beautiful photo of her peacefully lifting and looking up to the sunshine. I love this photo of her!

Get to know a little about Michelle:
Q: What inspires you to jump for joy?
My family, friends, sister-friends, mother nature, and good-hearted folks who are making a positive difference in this world!

Q: How was your experience doing the jumping photos?
Before the jump, I was curious, excited, and a bit nervous. After meeting Eyoälha, her playful spirit was contagious, and I started to feel more relaxed and ready to jump for joy. Also, sharing this moment with fellow Wyld Womxn made the experience even more special.

Q: How do you describe the feeling of joy?
To me, joy is a celebration and can sometimes show up in unexpected ways.

Q: What is your greatest passion in life?
Life has put me on an interesting path which has allowed me to serve the community in different ways. I am deeply grateful for the opportunities that have led me to follow my multiple passions from teaching, the arts, writing, cooking, and community organizing for social and political change.

Q: How do you feel about being part of a community project that promotes joy?
Awesome! I love how the project is uplifting and bringing folks together in the community through dialogue and art.

Q: If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?
I dream of the day where everyone can have access to universal healthcare, education, food & shelter and the arts.

Q: What are you working on or creating?
Currently, I am writing a book about the stories I heard growing up in Lola’s Kusina, which means grandmother’s kitchen in Tagalog. The book is about Filipino culture, food, family, growing up in an immigrant household and the importance of intergenerational connectivity. And I have a few other creative projects brewing!

Q: Mini bio or something special you want to share.
Michelle Castillo is a socially-engaged educator, writer, artist, activist, community organizer, and independent curator. Castillo is the founder of the Feminist artists’ collective, Wyld Womxn and the Filipino pop-up eatery, Lola’s Kusina. She has worked with several galleries and arts & culture nonprofits to create inclusive community programming. After years of city living, she has found herself back in her hometown of the desert.

Connect with Michelle:
Instagram: @desertboheme
FB page: /michelle.castillo
Other links:


Thank you to the Palm Springs Cultural Center inviting me to be your first Artist in residence and bringing the Jump for Joy Photo Project to the Coachella Valley.

If you live in the Coachella Valley and would like more info on the project, or would like to take part, email us:


Follow Jump for Joy on:
Instagram: @jumpforjoyphotoproject
Twitter: @jumpforjoyphoto
Facebook: /JumpForJoyPhotoProject

Please... share the joy :)

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