Awardees Peter Tigler and Cat Chiu Phillips will create public art installations to engage residents and visitors in the Coachella Valley.

Arts Tank Greater Palm Springs , an innovative grant program created by the California Desert Arts Council (CDAC) to support arts-based initiatives with wide-spanning community benefits, has awarded its inaugural grants to artists Peter Tigler and artist/educator Cat Chiu Phillips, the nonprofit arts advocacy organization announced today.

CDAC introduced ArtsTank in June 2018 to support unique, innovative and accessible art projects, products, events and ideas that attract visitors, address an issue or concern in the community, and engage a broad cross-section of residents and visitors in Greater Palm Springs.

The grant criteria required that applicants execute their proposed projects in the Coachella Valley, although applicants from outside the region were eligible to apply. CDAC’s sister organization, La Quinta Arts Foundation (LQAF), funded the initial ArtsTank award allotment, which was set at $25,000. CDAC seeks funds from individual and organizational supporters of the arts to help fund future awards.

In this year’s ArtsTank competition, CDAC received 48 proposals by the August 15, 2018 deadline. “We were thrilled with the response from the artist community,” said Christi Salamone, President & CEO of CDAC and LQAF. “The interest we experienced demonstrates a thriving arts community eager to create and share their work for the benefit of residents and visitors.”

Awardee Peter Tigler ( brings a unique vision and variety of influences to his dramatic, recognizable pieces, which include traditional media and cutting-edge computer images. Tigler has created public participation murals for The Getty Museum, Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors, Providence College, and cities including Santa Monica and Marina del Rey.

Coachella Valley residents and visitors will be key to the realization of Tigler’s public participation mural at the 37th annual La Quinta Arts Festival, March 7-10, 2019.  Attendees will bring the artist’s concept image to life on a 10-by17-foot canvas, connecting with their creative spirit and inner child by finger-painting the entire mural. “To me the creation of the image, particularly one that contains at least some figurative elements, was, and still is, at the core of my interest in art,” Tigler said.

Peter Tigler with Mural commissioned by The Getty

“The theme of the mural will unfold to the delight of festivalgoers, and the mural will have a life beyond the event,” Salamone said. “Our goal is to travel the mural throughout the Coachella Valley to connect with many more arts enthusiasts.”

Click here to see an example of Peter Tigler’s public participation mural commissioned by The Getty.

The second ArtsTank grant winner is artist/educator Cat Chiu Phillips (, who was raised in the Coachella Valley and received an AA degree in Studio Art at College of the Desert, a BA degree in Studio Art, Minor Art History from University of California, Riverside, and an MFA degree in New Genre from San Francisco Art Institute. Now living in San Diego, she creates public installation art using traditional handicraft methods of weaving and crochet but with recycled materials.

Inspired by the Japanese term mottainai, which conveys a sense of regret over waste, Phillips’ project, Power Plants, scheduled for an early-April 2019 exhibition at College of the Desert, is a solar-powered installation mimicking desert life growth created entirely from discarded electronic waste (e-waste). Phillips calls attention to the 49.8 million tons of worldwide e-waste generation expected in 2018 and an annual growth rate predicted to be up to 5 percent and hopes to affect the choices consumers make to address the crisis.

Cat Chiu Phillips

Phillips has created public art commissions at San Diego (CA) International Airport; Nashville (TN) International Airport (for the Bonnaroo music festival); Amelia Island (FL) Travel Commission; Lancaster (PA) Train Station; The Atlanta (GA) Beltline Project, and cities including Las Vegas, Pasadena, Vista, and Solano Beach. She has also earned and awards from the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


California Desert Arts Council (CDAC) is a 501c3 nonprofit founded in 2015 whose mission is to unify, empower, and promote the arts in the Coachella Valley region. For more information on CDAC’s programs and initiatives, and for a comprehensive calendar of arts and culture events and activities in the Coachella Valley region, visit

Founded in 1982, La Quinta Arts Foundation (LQAF) is a 501c3 nonprofit and producer of the award-winning La Quinta Arts Festival, whose proceeds have helped fund $1.3 million in college scholarships to Coachella Valley students. For more information visit