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18 Aug 2016

Far From a Conclusion: El Paseo's CODA Gallery Celebrates 30 Years With a New Director—and a New Home

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“Developing Dots” by Ben Steele. “Developing Dots” by Ben Steele.

El Paseo’s CODA Gallery has always presented works with a colorful, positive energy—making visits to the gallery continuously exciting.

Today, CODA is on the move: It will be reopening in September in a new space two blocks east of its former home.

Sam Heaton has been the gallery director since January, although his experience dates back 20 years—as a gallery owner and director, and as an artist representative, with further experience in art sales, marketing, publishing and private-collection management.

Heaton plans to highlight many styles of art in the new environment. CODA is known for blending mediums and styles while always retaining a vivid eloquence, humor and/or deftness that will be on display at the new location, opening Sept. 15. Two hot 2016 works are the Ben Steele pop retro-impressionism oil on canvas “Developing Dots,” and a Giuseppe Palumbo new surreal-minimalistic bronze entitled “The Edge.”

Nicole Borgenicht recently chatted with Heaton via email.

What is the short history of Coda Gallery?

CODA Gallery was founded in 1987 by Connie and David Katz, beloved philanthropists and art collectors who were passionate about the arts, especially the artists they represented. (The year) 2017 marks the gallery’s 30th anniversary, so it is an exciting time for CODA to be moving to a beautiful new location.

Where is the new gallery space?

Located in the heart of El Paseo, the new CODA is just two blocks up from the old space, on the corner of El Paseo and Lupine Lane. The majority of the new location’s block is being entirely remodeled, and the gallery footprint has never existed before. Newly opened neighbor businesses include Blaze Pizza and Habit Burger, and Saks Off Fifth is scheduled to open in September along with CODA. With Mastro's Steakhouse and the Apple Store across the street, it is already a bustling area on El Paseo.

How will the new Coda Gallery be unique?

The new 8,000-square-foot gallery will have an architecturally stunning interior to showcase CODA's awe-inspiring collection of art, including a magnificent corner rotunda. State-of-the-art LED lighting will optimize viewing of the gallery’s many paintings, photographs, sculpture, ceramics and glass. In addition, CODA will have many opportunities to feature sculpture in outdoor spaces around the gallery.

What changes will you implement in terms of the gallery direction?

CODA is very proud of its long-standing reputation as a warm and friendly gallery that is comfortable and accessible to art-lovers and collectors of every level. Relationships with clients are personal. The gallery shows a wide variety of contemporary art by established, mid-career and emerging artists. Some of the artists shown in the gallery have been with CODA since the beginning, but CODA is continually on the lookout for quality work by talented artists.

Next season’s exhibitions and artist receptions are currently being planned. … CODA will continue to participate in El Paseo’s First Friday Art Walk, which begins (for the season) on Nov. 4, with new programs to make the evening more fun and memorable. CODA's public grand opening will be held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, when the gallery will honor the gallery’s best artists who have played a major role in CODA’s 30-year success.

Talk a little bit about your personal plans and why this is an exciting time.

I was thrilled to become gallery director of CODA on Jan. 1, to help with the design and transition to the new location. In addition to … the gallery's new physical presence, many changes are being planned and implemented with CODA’s virtual online presence as well. It’s an exciting time to be at CODA. We look forward to the next chapter, welcoming people to the new gallery, and hopefully another 30 years of making people happy with art.

CODA Gallery, reopening Sept. 15, is located at 73400 El Paseo, in Palm Desert. Art may also be viewed by appointment. For more information, call 760-346-4661, or visit www.codagallery.com.

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