Borrego Sun - Since 1949

By Martha Deichler
BSUSD School-Community Liaison 

Wade Beane – Passion, Energy and Vision for the BAI


Last updated 6/7/2024 at 8:14am

As the newly appointed Executive Director of the Borrego Art Institute (BAI), Wade Beane is a human example of the rich produce the ArtPark is growing. Starting with his highly successful work in creating a whimsical, productive and educational garden environment with the ArtPark, Wade has now grown into his new role overseeing all BAI departments including TheGallery, ArtPark, ThePottery and Education.

From his early years growing up in the Midwest surrounded with vegetable gardens, rivers and trails, Wade developed a love for the natural world. Following this passion, he sought out innovative programs and surrounded himself with positive mentors. He enjoyed a rich variety of careers throughout Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Minnesota, teaching organic farming in Montessori schools, managing animal welfare organizations and directing outdoor education centers. He taught agriculture in Hawaii and later built zip lines and rope along the west coast. Perhaps this explains the ArtPark’s curious, eclectic and multi-faceted nature!

Now for the question we all ask, “What brought you to Borrego?” Wade’s other passion in life is running, something he did as a youngster with his dad and has embraced ever since. He fell in love with desert running years ago and Anza Borrego was a perfect mix of heat, roads, trails and mountains. Wade loves the solitude and dedication needed to balance the body when exploring long distances in high heat. It’s common to see Wade on solo runs around town or headed to Salton Sea, Mt Laguna or Palomar Mountain at all times of the day and night.

With the same energy and tenacity required to run 100 miles in the desert, Wade showed up at a BAI garden meeting years ago to volunteer with the ArtPark. He began volunteering, wrote a job description, created an operations and funding plan and wrote grants. He was soon hired at 10 hours a week and then with additional funding, the role expanded into a full-time position. Voila!

Everyone who visits or drives by the ArtPark is amazed and delighted with this natural balance that has become a Borrego landmark. From Ricardo Braceda’s metal dinosaur ready to devour the entire garden, to the delicate hyacinth flowers and fish in the ponds, this fantastical place is full of produce, herbs, art, flowers, fruit-bearing trees, nopales cactus and adventure!

Underneath the colorful show in the ArtPark is a plethora of educational lessons to be learned by visitors and students. The Borrego Water District’s Proposition 68 funds have resulted in educational stations teaching students and the public about irrigation, soil amendments and composting. Vermiculture is on active display with thousands of worms creating rich compost and incredible fertilizer tea. Wade and a dedicated team of volunteers have done an amazing job of bringing education to the ArtPark and to the students who visit weekly for lessons in agriculture, nutrition, science or simply to taste the herbs and discover how bees live in a community. 

Wade has a strong vision for the Borrego Art Institute. He wishes to expand the incredible team of BAI volunteers who now offer over 350 hours of volunteer time each month. Volunteers teach classes, help with mailings, serve as docents, pound nails, hang art, fire kilns, plant seeds and host events. Wade plans to develop and find funding for a volunteer coordinator to continue expanding BAI programs to reach adults and students throughout Borrego and neighboring communities.

Wade believes there is an artist in each of us, whether a landscaper creating a lovely front yard, a musician, poet, or auto body mechanic restoring a car. His all-inclusive view of art and creativity is poised to drive BAI to become inclusive of all forms of art. Wade sees the Borrego Art Institute as a hub of creativity and artistry in our village – from Day of the Dead altars, to exhibits of local artists’ work, culinary arts, concerts such as the full moon Drum Circle held last month and so much more. The Borrego Art Institute is a place to inspire, excite and surprise, and under Wade’s innovative leadership, we might be in for a few surprises!

The Borrego Art Institute is a non-profit organization and is funded through memberships, donations and grants. Please support this 501c3 through the website at or by sending checks to the BAI, PO Box 2383 Borrego Springs, CA 92004. And, as always, you can stop by!

– Written by Martha Deichler, BSUSD School-Community Liaison and BAI Board Secretary

– Wade Beane, BAI Executive Director and ArtPark Director contributed to this article