Twenty-six visual artists, musicians, authors, graphic designers, and other creative professionals earned grants from the California Desert Arts Council (CDAC) in May to “Keep Arts Alive,” an initiative to provide financial support to Coachella Valley artists affected by and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Established by CDAC and La Quinta Arts Foundation, the $50,000 fund awards one-time grants of $500 to individuals and $1,500 to organizations for creating thoughtful and inspiring works responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. CDAC awarded 14 grants in April. 

Here are highlights from the latest group of grant winners:

Muralist John Cuevas designed a graphic (shown above) for CDAC’s Keep Art Alive initiative while also working a new painting. Read more

The Kids Can’t Play by Adam Enrique Rodriguez

Adam Enrique Rodriguez’s watercolor painting The Kids Can’t Play depicts a taped-off swing set in a closed public park. Read more

Inspired by the Mexican Arboles del la Vida, La Quinta–based artist Ellen Kimmel created Hope and Renewal, a hand-built ceramic Tree of Life candelabra. Read more

Diego Elias, a sound engineer, musician, and video and animation technician in Palm Desert, composed, recorded and, mixed a music video for “Raindrops,” featuring his talented family. Read more

Artist and art educator Meridy Beth Volz of Desert Hot Springs is at work on a COVID-19 series of paintings — a continuation of her Warrior series celebrating the power of the human spirit. Read more

Desert Hot Springs vocalist Ana Rangel performed “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from CarouselRead more

Paige Elizabeth Wajda, a science fiction writer and poet with surrealist tendencies, wrote 10 new poems while sheltering in La Quinta in April, which was National Poetry Month. Read more

Gideon Cohn of La Quinta created an oil painting on 3-D-formed panel depicting a couple holding hands and strolling on a trail in a sunflower field — “a happy painting, full of hope in a time of uncertainty.” Read more

La Quinta artist Lauretta Lowell’s Everyone Needs a Guardian Angel — constructed with an antique doll head and hand-worked body, bustier, and wings — serves to “watch over her owner and keep her safe from illness or strife.” Read more

Restrictive Measures by Chris Sanchez, aka Kas Infinite

Coachella-based multimedia artist Chris Sanchez, aka Kas Infinite, created a spectacle of light and land, rendering in red light the invisible barriers we’ve created amid the pandemic. Read more

Artist and instructor Paul Messink of Palm Desert created You Are Not Alone on 25 layers of hand-painted glass. Read more

Don Porter’s Tribute to the Orderlies, a photograph of a temporary bas-relief sculpture, depicts an orderly in a tattered yellow gown entering a COVID-19 patient’s room. Read more

Emmy Award-winning journalist-turned-artist and gallerist Ricardo Vela poured his fears, doubts, and anguish into a series of abstract expressionist paintings. Read more

The Hound by Jacob Arden McClure

Palm Springs artist Jacob Arden McClure addressed the blackout head-on in bold mixed-media works loaded with symbolism, iconography, and texture. Read more

Feelings of fear, uncertainty, and terror show right through the PPE on the healthcare professionals Indio artist Tone Rubio depicts in his new series of drawings, Frontline. Read more

New York Times bestselling author Tod Goldberg wrote a piece of narrative nonfiction that, he explains, “examines this strange new world we live in — with each other, without each other, and with the animals and people we too often ignore.” Read more

La Quinta artist Anthony Tran’s new watercolor, Keep Fighting, in a kaleidoscope of colors, depicts a masked (for COVID-19) samurai with his sword held high, ready to come down on anything that threatens him. Read more

Maggie Downs and her son, Everest

In a mosaic-structure essay, “So Sad Today,” Maggie Downs — an award-winning journalist and author of the new book Braver Than You Think (Counterpoint Press) — shares conversations she has had with Everest while homeschooling him during the COVID-19 crisis. Read more

The Desert Ensemble Theatre Company is turning tales of the times into “Sheltering Stories,” an hourlong, web-based show of monologues, dialogues, and song. Read more

Deanna Fainelli, a Palm Desert artist, created Instagood, a mixed-media self-portrait that combines blind contour drawing techniques and layered backgrounds. Read more

Jeff Frost installed and documented Ghosts of the Future, an optical illusion painting on abandoned vehicles standing on end in the Salton Sea. Read more

COVID-19 still-life watercolor by Mindy McEachran

Mindy McEachran’s quarantine-themed still-life watercolor includes bottles of hand sanitizer, bleach, and Maker’s Mark situated with a bag of flour, a roll of toilet paper, three pieces of fruit, and flower. Read more

In a new essay, writer and educator Rob Bowman concedes he’s not built for the apocalypse, but he explains how he’s learning to get his hands dirty. Read more

Donna Miller-Haggerty’s watercolor and collage painting Inside Looking Out illustrates the complexity of feelings during isolation. Read more

Artist and educator Victoria Montes created a new work depicting a farmworker and celebrating the Coachella Valley’s diversity. Read more

JC MacQueen’s new series of photographs focus on the shadows, stains, and detritus he finds on the concrete sidewalks and surfaces. Read more

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