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The Artists Council was established 50 years ago when the Palm Springs Museum was still primarily a natural history and science museum. The purpose of the council was to sponsor exhibitions of local artists and bring support for the arts into the mix of the museum's offerings.

The early work of the Artists Council paved the way for the evolution and growth of the museum—a transformation that was formalized with the renaming of what is now the Palm Springs Art Museum in the early 2000s.

Over the years, the Artists Council itself has grown in size and ambition. While still operating under the umbrella of the Palm Springs Art Museum, the council has recently begun partnering with other art organizations and schools throughout the Coachella Valley—and last spring, the council announced it would become a new nonprofit art organization independent from the Palm Springs Art Museum. Much of the groundwork for this metamorphosis has been completed, and in early 2019, the council will begin fully operating under its own leadership. Both the challenges and opportunities are enormous.

But first, it’s time to celebrate—with the annual Artists Council Exhibition, taking place at the Palm Springs Art Museum from Oct. 20 through Dec. 9.

I talked with Terry Hastings, the co-chair of this year’s Artists Council Exhibition, to find out more about what lies ahead for the council, local artists and our broader community.

What does the Artists Council offer to the Coachella Valley?

First of all, art is important to the mental and spiritual health of a community. It is important to have organizations dedicated to supporting local artists. They are our neighbors, friends and families. They contribute a tremendous amount to the quality of life we enjoy here. Organizations like the Artists Council promote local talent and provide a network for artists to display and sell their work. This keeps money within our community. It also allows us to meet and have a one-on-one connection with the people who create the art.

What kind of services does the Artists Council provide to members?

The purpose of the council is to nurture artistic creation. We provide our members with exhibitions to display and sell their work, critiques, demonstrations and lectures, and field trips. One of the most important benefits is the opportunity to network with other local and regional artists, art patrons and people in the community.

There are about 350 members now. We're looking to expand our membership and having the freedom to partner with different arts organizations in the valley.

How do you plan to attract new members?

We look forward to maintaining the prestige status of our museum affiliation. This affiliation differentiates the Artists Council from other art organizations in the region.

We need to be more creative and responsive to our community. All museums operate under a bureaucracy. They need to be deliberate and carefully research things before making a decision. You always need multiple approvals before taking action. By becoming independent, we increase our ability to react spontaneously.

We plan to hold more regular classes, and also more exhibitions and lectures. We want to offer higher-end classes with nationally known teachers, and we'll simplify the admissions policies. We welcome anyone eager to engage in a wide-ranging dialogue about art and its place in the community.

What are the biggest challenges facing the council?

Many of our future plans are still in flux. It's time for us to take control of our own fate. We are looking for board members with a business background to help us create and implement a new business plan and budgets.

Funding is always a challenge. Our 501(c) tax status is already in place. We will continue to receive some funding from the museum, but new fundraising events are needed.

We are looking for new facilities to continue our classes, salons, critiques and networking opportunities. We also want to establish a permanent gallery.

What is different about the annual Artists Council Exhibition at the museum this year?

I'm very excited about showing the depth and breadth of the artists in the council. The works selected for this show are penultimate examples from the finest artists living in the Coachella Valley.

It is a juried show. A very high caliber of judges was purposely chosen to reflect different backgrounds and areas of expertise. This year, the judges include Anne M. Rowe, director of collections and exhibitions at the Sunnylands Center and Gardens; Cybele Rowe (no relation), an Australian artist, professor and local resident; and Chip Tom, curator at Heather James Gallery in Palm Desert.

Artists Council members were invited to submit three pieces each, of which only one could be selected for the show. We did not give the judges any criteria and just allowed them to select the works to be included in this year's exhibition.

This year's judging has been more rigorous and intense. Because of this, there is a broader scope of work represented in the final selection of 44 pieces for this exhibit.

The judges made their initial selections from photographs, but the actual judging (for the exhibit’s awards) will be finalized once the art is hung in the museum's gallery. The awards ceremony will be on Oct. 27 at 5:45 p.m. in the museum's Annenberg Theater. The cash awards will be announced then, followed by a reception in the Elrod Sculpture Garden. The public is invited.

Uschi Wilson, a local artist and the other co-chair of the Artists' Council Exhibition (pictured below with Hastings), expressed her aspirations for the future in a written statement.

“‘Expanding the Visions,’ our new mantra, developed out of a sincere desire to make the Artists Council a creative, fresh and forward-thinking organization, serving all artists in Coachella Valley and beyond,” she said. “The Artists Council has assisted artists for over 50 years, and we are looking forward to the next 50 years, knowing that what we have in store for the future is nothing less than marvelous.”

The annual Artists Council Exhibition takes place Saturday, Oct. 20, through Sunday, Dec. 9, at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, in Palm Springs. The exhibition’s awards ceremony takes place at 5:45 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 27, at the museum’s Annenberg Theater. Admission costs vary. For more information, call 760-322-4800, or visit www.psmuseum.org.

Published in Visual Arts

Imagine if what you did every day for work was constantly being judged and juried. Unless you were a criminal on trial, it might feel unnatural.

But for an artist, being judged and juried can be a welcome experience. That is why more than 300 artists submitted their original works for consideration for the 2017 Artists Council Exhibition at the Palm Springs Art Museum, which will be on display from Saturday, Oct. 7, through Sunday, Dec. 10.

The Artists Council is a group that supports and nurtures artists by providing them with exhibitions and networking opportunities. Its membership includes 350 local and regional artists and art patrons, as well as members of the general public who want to engage with the local art scene. The council also produces workshops for adults to learn and enhance their own artistic skills.

The Artists Council Exhibition was created by its members and is held annually in the fall. Now in its 48th year, the exhibit includes works by more than 40 Artists Council members. All of the work is for sale, with 50 percent of the proceeds going to support the Palm Springs Art Museum. A color catalog with images of all the artwork will also be for sale.

Daniel Hogan is the Education Department and Artists Council coordinator at the Palm Springs Art Museum. “There is always great art in this exhibition,” he said. “There are always some great buys at this exhibition, as some of the exhibiting artists are up-and-coming and still making a name for themselves.”

Did Hogan find surprises in any of this year’s art?

“There are always surprises with art that asks questions,” he mysteriously responded.

A team of jurors is curating the exhibition, including Lita Albuquerque, an internationally renowned installation and environmental artist, painter and sculptor. She is part of the Light and Space movement and is known for her pigment pieces created for desert sites. She is also a member of the faculty of the Fine Art Graduate Program at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena. Joining Albuquerque is David Pagel, an art critic, curator and professor of art theory and history in the Claremont Graduate University Art Department; he writes regularly for the Los Angeles Times. Also on the jury is Rick Royale, owner of Royale Projects, a contemporary art gallery located in Los Angeles’ downtown arts district.

These jurors will announce the winners at a ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 7, at 5:45 p.m. The program is open to the public, and will be held in the museum’s Annenberg Theater, followed by a reception in the museum’s atrium.

The Artists Council also offers free workshops for members at the Palm Springs Art Museum. This season, the council has scheduled four experimental hands-on workshops. One is entitled “Printing With Shadows.” There will also be four “The Business of Art” workshops with topics like “Getting Your Art Online,” “How to Write Your CV” and “How to Price Your Art for Sale.” Finally, the museum will hold life-drawing sessions with live models, as well as critique workshops, during which members are invited to bring up to three of their art works.

For more information, e-mail Daniel Hogan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or go to www.psmuseum.org/artists-council.

The 2017 Artists Council Exhibition takes place from Saturday, Oct. 7, through Sunday, Dec. 10, at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, in Palm Springs. Admission costs vary. For more information, call 760-322-4800, or visit www.psmuseum.org. Below: “All That Jazz” by Cathy Pitts, oil on canvas.

Published in Visual Arts

Temperamental artists took to the Internet after the Palm Springs Art Museum announced the works that would be included in the Artists Council Exhibition 2015.

Normally, the complaining ends within a week of the announcement; however, this year, the comments seemed especially fractious. While most selected artists took pride in their inclusion, many Artists Council members who were not included criticized every aspect of the selection process, from the number of jurors to the number of submissions per artist. (Full disclosure: I submitted art to the show which was not selected.)

Some suggested that the museum create a show featuring the rejects. Regrettably, a small contingency made the conversation personal, impugning the integrity and competency of Artists Council peers.

The results of the selection process are now on display for everyone to see. Unfortunately, I found a fair number of the pieces to be derivative, in a way that does not add to an understanding of an artist or school of art. In addition, I felt some included artists need to rethink their message, and how it is expressed. However, since I am in the awkward position of being a reviewer whose own work was not selected for the show, I’ll focus on the pieces that were decidedly successful.

The narrative presented by Debra Thompson’s assemblage-encaustic “Newtown 26” contains at least two stories: In addition to skillfully honoring the lives lost as a result of the Sandy Hook killings, the artist covers her journey toward a personal understanding and reconciliation of that event in the context of the Second Amendment and the need for the United States to find a better way to address the mental-health needs of its citizens.

Thompson constructed a less-than-pristine American flag out of a series of materials. Some of the 50 white stars are missing. In their stead, the viewer sees the bottom of shell casings. Old Glory’s white stripes are an encaustic or waxy substance, upon which grayish-white faces of children are presented. As with the stars, a number of faces are replaced with the bottoms of shell casings. The most subtle and ultimately disconcerting component of the flag is its stripes: The six stripes that would normally be red consist of crayons—bordered by bullets.

Philippe Chambon continues to create visual spaces that are seemingly in constant motion. As he’s done on many other canvases, Chambon employs a limited number of deep, highly saturated and frequently muddied colors in “Reflection No. 34: ‘The Kiss.’” The artist applied purples, blues and greens to this 40-by-40-inch acrylic on canvas to create a merger of geometric and curved shapes. To enhance the dimensionality, Chambon outlines each shape or object with black paint. However, it’s his use of bright-white paint that makes the viewer’s eyes dance around the canvas. Surprisingly absent is the artist’s usual letter-like iconography.

Offering a contrast to the intensity of the works of Thompson and Chambon work is Alison Hunt Ballard’s woodblock relief print “Double Bond (Latere),” from her Trans Isomerism series. In this 30-by-22-inch work on paper with a mustard background, the artist shows two kneeling women with long black hair. Ballard presents one woman in a darker green-grey, while the second woman is presented in a lighter green-grey. A sense of connectedness is created by having each woman wrap her arms around the waist of the other. The message of connection is furthered by the depiction of the two, similarly shaped, overlapping heads. Inside each woman’s abdominal area sleeps a content, curled-up cat. Do these cats, presented inside a solid-red oval shape, represent wombs?

Bob Hoffmann’s 40-by-32-inch piece “Midcentury Modern” is separated from the less-successful pieces with a midcentury design thanks to its execution. Yes, “Midcentury Modern” contains all of the characteristics of the period (colors, geometric shapes); however, Hoffmann’s use of sewn fabric to develop and execute his creative intent makes the piece a unique addition. Beginning with a grid, the artist deconstructs the space with his use of a creamy-beige fabric. The deconstruction process results in a set of geometric forms, like rectangles, squares and trapezoids. Hoffmann completes his composition by inserting contrasting colored fabric into the open geometric shapes. While some spaces are filled with shades of the same color (deep blues, lime green), two complementary colors, such as orange and yellow, are used in others. Lastly, one space includes what seems like confetti with many of the colors frequently chosen by midcentury designers, architects and artists. The sewn-together pieces of fabric create a softness that is hard to achieve with paint.

The Artists Council Exhibition 2015 does indeed offer museum visitors an opportunity to see some excellent pieces created by local artists. However, it also includes a number of pieces that, in the eyes of some (myself included), aren’t worthy of the Palm Springs Art Museum. Check it out—and decide for yourself.

The Artists Council Exhibition 2015 is on display through Sunday, Dec. 6, at the Palm Springs Art Museum, located at 101 N. Museum Drive, in Palm Springs. The works are on sale, and 50 percent of the proceeds go toward the museum’s education programs. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; and noon to 8 p.m., Thursday. Admission prices vary. For more information, call 760-322-4800, or visit www.psmuseum.org.

Published in Visual Arts

Film

Screening of ‘Tim’s Vermeer’

Tim Jenison, a Texas based inventor, attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in all of art: How did 17th century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer manage to paint so photo-realistically, 150 years before the invention of photography? The epic research project Jenison embarks on to test his theory is as extraordinary as what he discovers. This is a Penn and Teller Film, produced by Penn Jillette. Q&A to follow with Lisa Soccio, assistant professor/gallery director at College of the Desert. 6 p.m., Thursday, April 16. Free. University of California at Riverside—Palm Desert, 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive, Palm Desert. 760-202-4007; palmdesert.ucr.edu/programs/ArtDoc13.html.

Music and More

Aiden James

Don’t miss Aiden James performing his latest single, “Last Reminder,” from his album Trouble With This, which launched at No. 28 on the iTunes Top 100. Dinner at 5:30 p.m., with show at 7 p.m., Friday, April 10. $20 show only. Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 800-838-3006; purpleroompalmsprings.com.

The Best of Sam Harris

Sam Harris’ career has run the gamut from singer and songwriter to actor on Broadway, film and television, to writer, director, producer and now, author. After winning Star Search in its premiere season, Sam and his powerhouse pop, gospel and theater influenced vocals have never looked back. 8 p.m., Saturday, April 11. $60 to $75. Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-4490; www.psmuseum.org.

Cabaret 88: Donna Theadore

An American actress and singer who first came to attention as a headliner at many famous nightclubs during the 1960s, Theodore won a Theater World Award and Drama Desk Award, and received a Tony Award nomination for her performance in the 1975 musical Shenandoah. She is best remembered for her appearances with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show, making more than 50 guest appearances. 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 8. $88. Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-4490; www.psmuseum.org.

Comedy at the Symphony

Piano humorist Wayland Pickard leads an evening of music and comedy in the PBS tradition of Victor Borge, Roger Williams, Peter Nero and Liberace—all rolled into one. His impressions include selections from famous “piano men” such as Billy Joel, Elton John, Scott Joplin, Jerry Lee Lewis and even Schroeder from “Peanuts.” 7 p.m., Saturday, April 11. $25 to $45, with discounts. Helene Galen Performing Arts Center, Rancho Mirage High School, 31001 Rattler Road, Rancho Mirage. 760-360-2222; www.cvsymphony.com.

Opera in the Park

This free annual concert is a celebration of opera music. Bring a picnic lunch and join thousands of Coachella Valley residents and visitors to enjoy an afternoon of incredible music in an informal, tranquil outdoor setting with a professional orchestra and eight young up-and-coming opera singers. Noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, April 12. Free. Sunrise Park, 401 S. Pavilion Way, Palm Springs. 760-325-6107; palmspringsoperaguild.org.

Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus Presents: Extrabbaganza

The Swedish pop group ABBA topped the music charts from 1975-1982. Their music found new life in movie musicals. The Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus will perform a long list of ABBA’s hits. 8 p.m., Saturday, April 25; and 3 p.m., Sunday, April 26. $25 to $50. Temple Isaiah, 332 W. Alejo Road, Palm Springs. 760-219-2077; www.psgmc.com.

Tachevah, A Palm Springs Block Party

A concert for music fans midway between the two 2015 Coachella weekends. The celebration of music and our city takes place outside the Spa Resort Casino in downtown Palm Springs, and a DJ will keep the party rolling in between band sets. 5 to 10 p.m., Wednesday, April 15. Free. Spa Resort Casino, at Tahquitz Canyon Way and Calle Encilia, Palm Springs. Facebook.com/Tachevah.

The USO Variety Show

The USO has been entertaining troops worldwide in times of peace and war for more 70 years. Now, the Bob Hope USO needs you to laugh, enjoy and have some fun remembering the good ol’ times. Join us for a live nostalgic tribute to Bob Hope and his band of Hollywood celebs; enjoy free tours of the museum pre- or post-show time. 2 p.m., Thursday, April 9. $55 to $75. Palm Springs Air Museum, 745 N. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs. 760-778-6262; palmspringsvacationtravel.com.

Zero Gravity: Music Festival After Hours Party

Zero Gravity will feature a mixture of top talent, emerging artists and special guest appearances. This year, the fairgrounds will be transformed into a mega-club party with amazing sound, lighting, lasers, larger-than-life artwork, exceptional VIP services and more. 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday, April 10-18. Must request an invitation at the website; lineup and ticket prices TBA. Riverside County Fairgrounds, 82503 Highway 111, Indio. Rocketboyevents.com.

Special Events

Cathedral City LGBT Days

Not your typical Pride event, this weekend promises to be interactive, festive and OUTrageous! Enjoy area restaurants, music, hot air balloon rides, the costume “charity bed race” LGBT films and more. Various times, prices and locations in Cathedral City. Friday, April 3, through Sunday, April 5. 760-770-0340; www.discovercathedralcity.com/index.php/event/cathedral-city-lgbt-days.

The Dinah Shore Weekend

Club Skirts presents The Dinah, the largest girl party music festival in the world, rocking Palm Springs since 1991. Various times and locations, Wednesday, April 1, through Sunday, April 5. Prices vary; weekend passes $269. Thedinah.com.

White Party Palm Springs

The largest gay dance party in the world. DJs, live performances, pool parties and more. Various times, prices and locations, Friday, April 24, through Monday, April 27. Jeffreysanker.com.

Visual Arts

99 Bucks Sale

The Palm Springs Artists Council presents this annual major fundraiser for the Education Department. Celebrities as well as Artists Council members and other artists create artwork on 5-by-7 canvases for this popular and intriguing one night event. The purchaser selects works to buy, and only after purchase do they learn the name of the artist. 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Saturday, April 11. Free. Riviera Resort and Spa Grand Ballroom, 1600 N. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-322-4850; www.psmuseum.org/artists-council.

Indian Wells Arts Festival

More than 200 award-winning artists featuring hundreds of pieces of one-of-a-kind artwork available for purchase. The Second Annual Objet Trouvé Found Art Festival joins once again, featuring award-winning found artists creating a “festival of festivals.” 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, April 3, through Sunday, April 5. $13; children 12 and under free. Indian Wells Tennis Garden, 78200 Miles Ave., Indian Wells. 760-346-0042; www.indianwellsartsfestival.com.

Submit your free arts listings at calendar.artsoasis.org. The listings presented above were all posted on the ArtsOasis calendar, and formatted/edited by Coachella Valley Independent staff. The Independent recommends calling to confirm all events information presented here.

Published in Local Fun