CVIndependent

Tue07292014

Last updateSat, 11 Jan 2014 11am

Editor's Note

I’d never heard of Eventbrite or Brit + Co before a week or so ago. Turns out Eventbrite is an online events/calendar website, and Brit + Co is “an online media and e-commerce platform that provides tools to teach, inspire and enable creativity among women and girls” that its managers claim reach more than 5 million “creatively minded people” each month.

Well, I’ve now heard of these sites, because Eventbrite’s Lauren Busley, in a post published on Brit + Co’s website, came up with a rather surprising list that quickly made the social-media rounds among Coachella Valley-area art fans: Eventbrite named Palm Springs as the No. 1 Coolest City for Art Lovers in the USA.

Yes, really. Eventbrite supposedly “found out which U.S. cities have the highest proclivity for the arts looking at population, number of art events and amount of cash locals spent on art events” to make the determination. Hmm.

See the list for yourself, if you must, here.

On one hand, this conclusion is preposterous. I love Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley more than almost anyone, but is Palm Springs really a better art city than San Francisco (No. 3 on the list)? Seattle (No. 6)? Boston (No. 7)? Miami (No. 8)? Or freakin’ New York (not ranked)?

On the other hand … no, sorry, there is no other hand. This conclusion is simply preposterous. After all, Busley’s first sentence is this: “With beautiful warm weather year-round, some of the best art in Palm Springs is outdoors.” She must be unaware that until recently, city officials in Eventbrite’s No. 1 art city didn’t allow murals.

Having said all that, I understand how art-lovers are charmed by the fantastic art in Palm Springs and the rest of the Coachella Valley. We have great museums, delightful art-filled areas (like El Paseo, the Backstreet Art District and the Uptown Design District) and an abundance of fantastic artists who live here.

Last month at CVIndependent.com, and in the July print edition, the Independent featured two of those talented local artists.

Alex Koleszar and Peggy Vermeer, in many ways, couldn’t be more different. Koleszar is a former consultant who gave up his business to become a painter, and who moved to Palm Springs for a new start after his partner died due to cancer; Vermeer is an assemblage artist and trailblazing art teacher who has been in the Coachella Valley for decades—and who’s still going strong at 89 years of age.

However, in one very important way, Koleszar and Vermeer are quite similar (beyond the obvious fact that they’re both artists): They both have an intense passion for what they do.

No, Palm Springs is not really the No. 1 Coolest City for Art Lovers in the USA. It’s not even close. But due to the work of passionate locals like Koleszar and Vermeer, we’re getting there.