Coachella Valley Arts News – November 2020

Nancy Baker Cahill’s Revolutions, an augmented reality artwork created for Desert X 2019. The exhibition returns February–April 2021 with a new lineup of artist installations and public programs. Photograph: Lance Gerber /Courtesy Desert X


Hello from the California Desert Arts Council. The headlines have been big and bold over the past month. Let’s get right to it:

The Palm Springs International Film Festival canceled its 2021 event, dealing a financial blow to the region and possibly signaling changes to next year’s film awards season, the Desert Sun reports. Aftab Dada, vice president of the Hilton Palm Springs and chair of the PS Resorts hospitality group, says the financial losses stemming from the cancellation of the festival wipes out millions in tourism revenue. Festival organizers still plan to celebrate this year’s performances and films with an awards presentation Feb. 25.

Meanwhile, Desert X announced it will open as planned Feb. 6, 2021, with site-specific artworks installed across the Coachella Valley and a satisfying schedule of online programs. Health ambassadors will help maintain social distancing and other safety protocols, including providing masks, at each site, organizers told The Desert Sun.

Likewise, Modernism Week organizers are tentatively planning in-person and virtual events for its 15th annual program scheduled for Feb. 11-28, 2021, the Desert Sun reports. Ticket for in-person events go on sale at noon on Jan. 1, and online programs at noon on Feb. 1. (We’ve also heard rumblings of a possible move to April.)

Palm Springs Art Museum announced it will no longer operate or program at The Galen, its Palm Desert outpost, but has agreed to a new lease for the Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden, according to The Desert Sun. The move could save the museum up to $500,000 a year amid plummeting revenues due to the pandemic.


An enterprising spirit will propel the arts in the COVID era, local leaders say in “The Desert We Want,” a Palm Springs Lifemagazine feature about how local industry sectors are planning to not only bounce back but thrive for generations to come.

A new arts center will open in Coachella, offering music and arts programs for youth and adults, as the city and the nonprofit Culturas Music & Arts have agreed to a five-year lease of an industrial space. The Desert Sun reports.

The city of Indio is encouraging nonprofit organizations to apply for funding under its annual Community Grant/Sponsorship Program, according to The Uken Report. The program is for the current fiscal year, with $45,000 available, and runs through June 30, 2021. The deadline to apply is Dec. 31, 2020.


In other good news, art sales seem to be exceeding expectations during the pandemic, dealers report in Palm Springs Life.

Twenty years ago, Congress designated the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains as a national monument. To celebrate the anniversary, Palm Springs Life launched a photo contest. More than 600 entries rolled in, and panel of judges — representing Friends of the Desert Mountains, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians — selected the winners.


We’re also happy to introduce two talents to the community:

Palm Springs singer-songwriter Bob Gentry is making a comeback. He had played his last gig, opening for Ringo Starr in Los Angeles, in 2010, and then moved to Palm Springs to pursue a photography career. Now, he has 18 new songs and a record deal. He spoke to Desert Sun arts and entertainment reporter Brian Blueskye.

Palm Springs author David Perry has released his debut novel, Upon This Rock, a history-rich story that Palm Springs Lifedescribes as “giddy with assassins, terrorists, shady priests, human trafficking, and mega-watt conspiracies.”


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