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Visual Arts

23 May 2019
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Summer looms large on the horizon. Months of triple-digit temperatures take their toll, and we all look for ways to escape the heat—even if only for a brief period. The high desert cities of Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley offer some relief, with temperatures averaging about 10 degrees cooler than those in the Coachella Valley. The cities also offer an opportunity to engage with a thriving and diverse art scene. A weekend day trip—some galleries are only open on Saturday and Sunday—can be a great way to experience (slightly) lower temperatures and see some unexpectedly sophisticated art. These three suggestions represent just the tip of the art-scene iceberg, but are a good introduction to the treasures waiting to be discovered. Located in the former Harley Davidson showroom on the frontage road of Highway 62, the Yucca Valley Visual and Performing Arts Center provides state-of-the-art exhibition and studio space that artists…
18 Apr 2019
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Tucked off a small side street in La Quinta Cove is a sparkling oasis of serenity and inclusiveness—dedicated to the healing power of art. Founders Richard and Victory Grund created Old Town Artisan Studios 10 years ago as a gift to the community, and as a vehicle for them to share their passionate belief that art is for everyone. The backstory: After Victory Grund lost her parents, she fell into a deep depression. A concerned neighbor handed her a lump of clay with the instruction to “build something”—and Grund quickly realized the power of art to heal even the deepest wounds. It was a lesson she felt compelled to share with the world, and share, she has: Last year alone, Old Town Artisan Studios’ outreach program reached 21,683 people in the Coachella Valley. Through a heavily timbered Spanish gateway sits a multilevel compound with tree-shaded courtyards, patios, fountains and historic…
27 Mar 2019
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The Artists Council is now fully independent from the Palm Springs Arts Museum—and its inaugural exhibition as an independent organization, rather appropriately, is based on the theme Metamorphosis. The exhibition and sale will be celebrated with a catered opening-night reception on Thursday, March 28, from 6 to 8 p.m., and will be on display at the Artists Council’s new home—the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert—through Friday, April 12. The exhibition is free and open to the public, as is the opening-night reception, at which attendees will be able to meet the artists and vote for the People’s Choice Award. For 50 years, the Artists Council was a part of the Palm Springs Art Museum. On Jan. 1, the Artists Council became a fully independent nonprofit organization. Its mission is to promote the art and artists of the Coachella Valley. Metamorphosis was chosen as the first exhibit’s title by…
21 Feb 2019
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The second Desert X biennial exhibition, on display through April 21, consists of 19 site-specific works of art, created by an international group of acclaimed artists, spanning the Coachella Valley—including eight of the nine valley cities. The sites, all open to the public for free, stretch from the windmills of North Palm Springs down to the Salton Sea—but the impact is being felt worldwide. Desert X is the fulfillment of a dream by founder and president Susan L Davis, a public-relations professional and founding member of the President’s Committee for the Arts and Humanities. The idea was to create a conversation between cities, art organizations, local residents and visitors. The inaugural event in 2017 was acclaimed by the international art community, with more than 200,000 visitors. Excitement has been building over the last two years for the second edition. I had the privilege to participate in this excitement at the…
29 Jan 2019
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This year’s Art Palm Springs—the large annual art show that takes place at the Palm Springs Convention Center—kicks off with an Opening Night VIP Preview on Thursday, Feb. 14, and runs through the entirety of Presidents Day weekend Perhaps the word “large” doesn’t do Art Palm Springs justice; the show is truly massive and has been growing every year since its inaugural year in 2012. Nearly 80 galleries, from all corners of the globe, will be showing postwar and contemporary art, representing thousands of artists. Some of the Coachella Valley’s premier galleries, not surprisingly, are taking part. These types of mega-art events—this one is put on by Urban Expositions, which also produces shows in Aspen and Chicago—are a relatively new phenomenon that is changing the shape of the art world. They are as much about the experience as the art itself—and the art-loving public in our community resoundingly approves, with…
28 Jan 2019
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I love signature events, and they don’t get any more “signature” in the Coachella Valley than Modernism Week. It has become the defining celebration of the things this city stands for—iconic architecture, glamour, sophistication, occasional hedonism and complete freedom. What is modernism? Wikipedia says this: “Modernism is a philosophical movement that, along with cultural trends and changes, arose from wide-scale and far-reaching transformations in Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was the touchstone of the movement’s approach towards what it saw as the now obsolete culture of the past.” Modernism transformed every aspect of society and the arts—and it still permeates our thinking and world view. Volumes have been written, discussed and debated about the movement. Modernism Week focuses on the architecture that arose after World War II but does not limit itself to that. With more than 350 tours, lectures, screenings and parties taking…

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