Painters, photographers, singers, writers, animators, and graphic designers received artist relief grants through the Keep Art Alive emergency fund established by the California Desert Arts Council and affiliate 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. Here are highlights from the first wave of grant winners:

Sequestered in La Quinta, Thomas Gill (shown above) brought the atmospheric desert into his multimedia world. The result: a trippy, pulsating trek through a graphically rendered landscape drenched in the colors of Coachella Valley sunsets. Read and watch
Sofia Enriquez, known for her iconographic paintings, murals, and fashions, is responding to COVID-19 in a new series of paintings. “In this time of crisis,” she says, “there are a lot of harsh realities I have had to face head-on.” Read more

Agustin Aguilera of Palm Springs created a short, playful animated video to promote social distancing and good hygiene to keep yourself and others safe during the pandemic. Read more

Ryan Campbell, whose run as artist-in-residence at Palm Springs Art Museum abruptly ended when the institution closed to the public, started a new painting inspired by the crisis. Read more
While sheltered in place, Cristopher Cichocki, who was slated to install a massive multimedia work at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in April, created the digital image Liquid Constellation (Quarantine Circle) working from a recent photograph. Read more

Worth 1,000 words: Diane Morgan‘s watercolor painting on toilet paper, Bare Necessities. “The toilet paper dilemma will be something we remember about 2020,” she says. Read more
Classical vocalist Brianna Finnell, a College of the Desert and UC Irvine graduate, gave an emotional performance of “Let There Be Peace” from her La Quinta sequester. Read and listen

Zachary James Fleming-Boyles, known for his paintings of cacti in bright, highly saturated colors, is at work on the Quarantine Cactus series, and the first canvas is based on a plant growing at the late architect Albert Frey’s mountaintop residence in Palm Springs. Read more
In the hours before the stay-at-home order went into effect, Indio–based photographer Dean Mayo was shooting at Bombay Beach, the tiny town on the Salton Sea, where he captured a surreal scene with a swing set in the water. Read more

Anthony Irizarry, aka Mackaroni Tony, created a realist pencil drawing of a puppy wearing a surgical mask, and its title asks, Is It Safe Yet? Read more

Quarantine. Distance. Isolation: The conditions under which we’re been living provide the nomenclature for The Pandemic Paintings, a new series of surrealist works by Palm Springs–based artist Anne Faith Nicholls. Read more
Crystal Harrell, sheltered in La Quinta with autoimmune disorder and socially distant from her boyfriend, turned to her craft, launching a spoken word project to express her thoughts and emotions. Read more
Linda Pack of La Quinta photographed a scene along a hiking path at Whitewater Preserve. She wanted to return to shoot more, but instead stayed home and painted Whitewater, a 3-by-4-foot acrylic on canvas. Read more
Artist, healer, and instructor Cece Cruz of Indio is hosting paint parties, aka Quarantine Creations With Cece, on Instagram and Facebook Live to offer a creative outlet for children and adults coping with confinement and anxiety. Read more