Where would the holidays be without the arts? Let’s not imagine. This is a time to celebrate the bright and cheerful spirit of the season with an array of local and visiting artists and performers. The California Desert Arts Council has some recommendations for you and your friends and family.

“Our itineraries offer in-the-know recommendations for residents and visitors,” says Christi Salamone, CEO of the nonprofit organization. “Our goal is to help culture lovers find some of the best offerings in our big, diverse arts and culture community.”

Here are December’s highlights:

Anish Kapoor’s untitled sculpture is among the highlights of Sublime Abstraction through May 2018 at Heather James Fine Art in Palm Desert. Photo/Steven Biller


SUBLIME ABSTRACTION: The season-long exhibition at Heather James Fine Art in Palm Desert aims to connect emotionally and then transcend with works spanning from postwar (Helen Frankenthaler, Hans Hofmann, and Ad Reinhardt) to contemporary (Anish Kapoor and Mary Corse). Info

BOB VAN BREDA: The artist’s solo exhibition, Lost and Found, features discarded industrial and natural objects that he transformed into aesthetic forms at Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert. Info

WALK FOR ART: El Paseo Art Walk (Dec. 1) in Palm Desert features openings for Gabriela Aguilo (Ramey Fine Art), Tom Betts and Carolyn Reynolds (Dawson Cole Fine Art), Robert Bradshaw (Desert Art Collection), Siri Hollander (Coda Gallery), and Victor Hugo Zayas (Melissa Morgan Fine Art). The sixth annual La Quinta Artists Studio Tour is set for Dec. 3. Backstreet Art District (Dec. 6) in Palm Springs includes a book signing and reception for Lynn Doran at Maxson Art Studio and Gallery. And the Second Saturday Art Walk at Cathedral City’s Perez Road Art District (Dec. 9) includes shows at Colin Fisher Studios, Simeon Den Gallery, Colliding Worlds Fine Art Gallery, and more.

PACIFIC STANDARD TIME: The Getty-funded Pacific Standard Time exhibitions focusing on Latin American and Latino art in L.A continue at Palm Springs Art Museum (Kinesthesia: Latin American Kinetic Art, 1954-1969), the museum’s Architecture and Design Center (Albert Frey and Lina Bo Bardi: A Search for Living Architecture), and Sunnylands Center and Gardens (Carved Narrative: Los Hermanos Chávez Morado).

WOMEN BEHAVING BADLY … FOR GOOD: Coachella Valley History Museum’s year-long exhibition (through December 2018) celebrates the women, past and present, who braved the heat and dust in the forlorn desert outpost of the Coachella Valley in pursuit of a better life. Info



VICKI CARR: The Grammy Award winner known for bridging cultures performs “A Mariachi Christmas” Dec. 1 at McCallum Theatre. Info

TIMES SQUARE ANGEL: Desert Rose Playhouse stages Charles Busch’s musical pastiche Dec. 1-17 in Rancho Mirage. Info

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas is set for two performances Dec. 2 at McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert.

MAME: The classic musical reminds us “Life is a banquet” Dec. 1-17 at Palm Canyon Theatre. Info

MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER CHRISTMAS: Experience the magic of the season Dec. 2 in two performances (3 and 8 p.m.) at McCallum Theatre. Info

VOCAL COMPETITION: Eight young opera singers perform for a distinguished panel of judges at the Dorothy Nocita Vocal Competition Dec. 3 at Helene Galen Performing Arts Center in Rancho Mirage. Info

BILLIE HOLLIDAY: Jazz broadcaster Alan P. Schultz lectures (Dec. 4) on the life and 30-year music career of “Lady Day” at Rancho Mirage Public Library. Info

GERALD COLUCCI: The two-time grand prize and audience choice winner of the McCallum Theatre Open Call sings “A Tribute to Jerry Vale and the Great Italians of Song” (Dec. 6) at Rancho Mirage Public Library. Info

TRAILER PARK CHRISTMAS: Desert Theaterworks presents The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical from Dec. 8 to 17 at the Indio Performing Arts Center. Info



DARK FORTUNE: The prize-winning adaptation of Lukas Hartmann’s novel about the aftershocks of a tragic car crash comes to Camelot Theatres on Dec. 9. Info

KRAMER VS. KRAMER: Film journalist and producer Peter Bart presents this gripping story of a couple’s divorce and its impact on everyone involved, including the their young son, on Dec. 14 at Rancho Mirage Public Library as part of The Best Movies From Books series. Info

TAMARA: Desert Film Society presents a film (Dec. 16) inspired by the life and struggles of Tomas Mariano Adrian Hernandez, now Tamara Adrian, the first transgender person to become a member of parliament in Venezuela. Info

ABOVE THE DROWNING SEA: On the eve of World War II, tens of thousands of Jewish refugees were trapped in Nazi-controlled Europe. This film, screening Dec. 20 at the Tolerance Education Center in Rancho Mirage, is the epic story of their dramatic escape to Shanghai. Info



TAMALE FESTIVAL: Come to Old Town Indio and taste why the Food Network ranks the Indio International Tamale Festival (Dec. 2-3) among the top 10 of “All-American Food Festivals” in the nation. Info

WINTER GATHERING: The Twentynine Palms Band of Mission Indians hosts its annual powwow, featuring drum and dance contests, Dec. 8 to 10 at Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella. Info