Coachella Valley Arts News – December 2020

A new sculpture garden, curated by Melissa Morgan Fine Art, offers a free, safe, open-air art experience on El Paseo in Palm Desert. Photo courtesy Melissa Morgan Fine Art. 


Happy holidays from the California Desert Arts Council. In our final news roundup of the year, we offer links to financial aid and grant resources for Coachella Valley arts organizations, as well as strategy considerations for culture leaders. We also share top arts news headlines, as well as announcements from local organizations. We look forward to serving the region’s creative community in new, meaningful, and exciting ways in 2021.



The California Arts Council opened its 2021 grant season, with applications now being accepted for two of its six grants, responding to the current and urgent needs of the state’s arts workforce and businesses. New this year, applicant organizations must submit a racial equity statement. 

The California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate is working quickly to establish a package of assistance for small businesses, nonprofits, and cultural institutions impacted by COVID and the health and safety restrictions. It includes sales tax relief, $500 million in grants, and an additional $12.5 million added to the California Rebuilding Fund. Click for information and updates.

Arts funding was in crisis long before the pandemic exacerbated it. Now, to survive, arts organizations must change how they frame themselves to the public — especially as a new generation of donors expresses less interest in culture, advises Melissa Cowley Wolf, director of the Arts Funders Forum. She explains how to start in her recent Artnet article. 



A new sculpture garden on El Paseo in Palm Desert offers a safe, open-air art experience — a perfect pandemic-time culture fix, Palm Springs Life reports. The installation, organized by Melissa Morgan Fine Art, features eye-popping and interactive artworks.   

The Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals have not canceled or postponed, but as organizers miss production benchmarks, The Desert Sun reports, city officials wonder whether it’s already too late for the show to go on this April. 

Modernism Week plans virtual programs this February but will move in-person events to April 8–18. “It’s more than buying time,” executive director Lisa Vossler Smith told The Desert Sun. “It’s being hopeful that the conditions will actually improve enough that people will feel safe and ready to get together.”

Palm Springs singer-songwriter Bob Gentry revels in his second chance at a music career. Palm Springs Life catches up with him at a safely distant performance in the High Desert.

Robolights, the quirky holiday light display that has moved to Desert Hot Springs, is off this year, organizers tell The Desert Sun. “Amid the coronavirus pandemic, fundraising efforts are ‘accelerating,’ but there is no projected opening date at this time.” 

With his band Rival Alaska on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, its Palm Springs-based frontman James Johnson is putting finishing touches on a full-length electronic-pop solo album. CV Independent catches up with the singer-songwriter.



  • The Coachella Valley Symphony has postponed its concert that was scheduled for Jan. 24, 2021. However, its virtually formatted programs for the Buddy Rogers Youth Orchestra continue. Visit
  • Palm Canyon Theatre presents the “at-home” evening of entertainment, “Sounds of the Holiday Season,” Dec. 22–23, featuring popular Palm Canyon performers Mark Almy, Brent Schindele, Anthony Nannini, Ron Coronado, Laurie and Ryan Holmes, Paul Grant, Se Layne, and others. Info and tickets
  • Cabot’s Pueblo Museum has announced the publication of 1900 Gold Rush to Nome, Alaska: Cabot Yerxa’s Coming of Age Memoir, the fourth book published by Cabot’s Museum Foundation. Purchase a copy
  • CREATE Center for the Arts moves in January into a 20,000-square-foot space in Palm Desert’s San Pablo Corridor. The location includes a state-of-the-art digital design lab; photography dark room; broadcast studio with green screen; studios for painting, fiber arts, and printmaking; a wellness program; and an art supply shop. Take a virtual tour