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Visual Arts

30 Oct 2019
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When Barbara Keller passed away in April at the age of 75, her loss deeply rattled a number of local nonprofit organizations with which she was inextricably involved. One of those organizations was the Artists Council. The organization was just a few months into uncharted territory: After being a part of the Palm Springs Art Museum for five decades, the council had recently gained its independence. Tony Radcliffe, the former chair of the Artists Council board and the current exhibition chair, said Barbara Keller was a big part of that transition. “She always had an interest in artists,” Radcliffe said. “She got involved with helping the Artists Council and then she became a board member (for the museum). She was the liaison to the Artists Council. “When we would work with Barbara, she had a great sense of how to get things done. She also helped us learn how to…
17 Jul 2019
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Over the past year and a half, it has been my privilege to visit, learn about and write about a number of nonprofit organizations in the Coachella Valley dedicated to the arts. Someone once said that life without art is like food without salt. From Palm Springs to Coachella to the high desert towns of Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree, these organizations provide safe places filled with beauty, hope, joy and inspiration to thousands of people. They enrich our communities and create a fertile nest from which fledgling artists can take their first flight. While some of the people involved in these organizations are wealthy, most are not. Who are the donors that help provide the funds for the facilities, the teachers and the supplies? One name kept coming up during my visits. It was hard for me to miss, because we share the same name, but there is no…
19 Jun 2019
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About 18 months ago, I volunteered with the CREATE Center for the Arts for a week to see what it was all about. The fledgling nonprofit was approaching its first anniversary in its inaugural home, subleasing space in a former thrift store on Highway 111 in Palm Desert. The members and students were still reeling from the sudden death of founding board member Susan Smith Evans; in fact, one of my first tasks was taking down memorial retrospective of Evans’ paintings. Soon after, the company the CREATE Center was leasing space from closed—and the center was suddenly without a home. The future of the organization was unsure; funding and support were a constant source of anxiety. Mumm—the center’s founder and director—announced CREATE was moving. She asked everyone involved with the center to bring their cars, trucks and dollies, because a lease for a space had been signed, and they had…
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…

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