Start the New Year by filling your calendar with great art shows and performances. 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 January’s highlights:


THE NEW FEMINIST GAZE: Nalani Hernandez-Melo and Simeon Den curate a group show opening Jan. 13 at Simeon Den Gallery in Cathedral City. The opening reception is from 5 to 8 p.m., and the month-long exhibition includes panels and performances by the Wyld Womxn feminist collective.

WALK FOR ART: El Paseo Art Walk (Jan. 5) in Palm Desert features openings for Michael Battaglia (Desert Art Collection) and Jason Kowalski (J. Willott Gallery); a group show of locally based artists (Ramey Fine Art); a portraiture exhibition (Dawson Cole Fine Art); and 50 million-year-old fossil murals (Filsinger Fine Art). Other art walks take place at Backstreet Art District (Jan. 3) in Palm Springs, The Art Place (Jan. 3) in Palm Desert, and Cathedral City’s Perez Road Art District (Jan. 13).

SOUTHWEST ARTS FESTIVAL: About 250 artists from near and far converge on Indio’s Empire Polo Club Jan. 25-28 to showcase their work in a festival with live music and a variety of food and beverages.

SPIRIT OF THE POTTERS: Agua Caliente Cultural Museum presents a year-long exhibition featuring contemporary pottery by Tony Soares (Metis/Azore Island Portuguese), who, along with Cahuilla potter, David Largo, has been restoring Cahuilla pottery since the 1990s.

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 (through Jan. 28).

CARVED NARRATIVE: Featuring paintings by José Chávez Morado and sculptures by his brother, Tomás, Carved Narrative: Los Hermanos Chávez Morado (through June 3, 2018) marks the artists’ first exhibition outside of Mexico and Sunnylands Center & Gardens’ first exhibition of art from outside its own collection.

SUBLIME ABSTRACTION: The season-long exhibition at Heather James Fine Art in Palm Desert aims to connect emotionally and transcend through works spanning more than half a century of art history.


RABBIT HOLE: Becca and Howie Corbett have everything a family could want, until a life-shattering accident turns their world upside down and leaves the couple drifting perilously apart. The Dezart Performs presents the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Jan. 12-21 at Pearl McManus Theater in Palm Springs.

FIFTH OF JULY: A Vietnam Vet and his lover welcome old college friends and some family to their rural Missouri farmhouse in this moving and often hilarious production (Jan. 12-Feb. 4) at Desert Rose Playhouse in Rancho Mirage.

MOTOWN THE MUSICAL: Coming to the McCallum Theatre (Jan. 16-21), this is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, and others.

ROMANCE/ROMANCE: Two one-act musicals (Jan. 17-Feb. 11) take varied looks at romance seekers at CV Rep in Rancho Mirage. The first is a romp through the sexual ennui of turn-of-the-century Vienna based on Schnitzler’s The Little Comedy. Act 2 is a modern look at affection and disaffection in a two-couple summerhouse in the Hamptons based on the Jules Renard play Summer Share.

HELLO, DOLLY!: The Broadway hit bursts with humor, romance, high-energy dancing, and some of the greatest songs in musical theater history, Jan. 19-Feb. 11, at Palm Canyon Theatre in Palm Springs.

“JIM CARUSO’S CAST PARTY”: Showbiz superstars hit the stage, alongside up-and-comers, serving up jaw-dropping music and general razzle-dazzle for this show on Jan. 20 at the Annenberg Theater in Palm Springs.


CALDER QUARTET: Inspired by innovative American artist Alexander Calder, the Calder Quartet’s desire to bring immediacy and context to the works they perform creates an artfully crafted musical experience, Jan. 20, at Rancho Mirage Public Library.

NATHAN GUNN: Palm Springs Opera Guild presents the sensational baritone Nathan Gunn on Jan. 22 at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert.


PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: The 29th annual festival (Jan. 2-15) serves up 14 days of screenings, lectures, parties, and other events. The program includes more than 180 films, beginning with Steven Spielberg’s The Post, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks.

LEVITATED MASS: The story of Michael Heizer’s monolithic sculpture screens Jan. 25, followed by a conversation with art writer Steven Biller, at UCR Palm Desert.

A PATCH OF BLUE: On Jan. 29, the Tolerance Education Center screens the 1965 drama about a black man (Sidney Poitier), a blind white female teenager (Elizabeth Hartman), and the problems that plague their relationship when they fall in love.


WOMEN BEHAVING BADLY … FOR GOOD: This yearlong exhibit at the Coachella Valley History Museum in Indio celebrates the women who have braved the heat and dust to do great things in the forlorn desert.

SINGING THE BIRDS: Agua Caliente Cultural Museum presents Singing the Birds: Bird Song & Dance Festival on Jan. 27 at Palm Springs High School. The free event celebrates traditional Native American bird singing and dancing and features Native food and craft vendors.

DESERT MOUNTAINS ART FAIRE: Local artists offer a range of photography, paintings, ceramics, jewelry, and more at the art sale presented by Friends of the Desert Mountains on Jan. 6 at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center in Palm Desert.