This Month in the Arts – March 2021

Judy Chicago will present a “smoke sculpture” for Desert X in April. 
© JUDY CHICAGO/ARTISTS RIGHTS SOCIETY (ARS), NEW YORK; PHOTO © DONALD WOODMAN/ARS, NEW YORK

 

Stimulus for the arts, a smoke sculpture for Desert X, and a promise of an “epic” return of live performances from the developer of a new arena in Palm Desert. Welcome to the March edition of This Month in the Arts from the California Desert Arts Council (CDAC).

As we were rounding up the best of the Coachella Valley arts and culture scene, we learned that California’s newly approved, $7.6 billion COVID-19 relief package — the same one offering $600 stimulus checks to qualified residents as well as variety of grants and tax breaks to businesses — includes $50 million in aid to cultural institutions that have suffered financially because of the pandemic. CDAC is monitoring activity around the legislation to determine how the state will deploy these funds.

Locally, excitement is building for the third edition of Desert X, the exhibition of site-specific artworks in the Coachella Valley from March 12 to May 16. Desert X announced the names of 13 artists from around the world who’ll participate in its new exhibition, as The Art Newspaper reports. Among the highlights, legendary feminist artist Judy Chicago will create a “smoke sculpture” in April 9 to encourage people to take fresh look at the landscape — and care for it, she explains in Palm Springs Life. The exhibition’s new co-curator, César Garcia-Alvarez, talked to Coachella Magazine about tuning the experience to the local population.

The Palm Springs International Dance Festival has also revealed plans for its March 11–14 event designed for the pandemic era. The program includes an opening-night performance, a dance photography exhibit and panel discussion, and a dance film series.

And music mogul and desert resident Irving Azoff envisions an epic return for live entertainment after the pandemic shuttered festivals and concert venues this past year. Azoff, who Billboard magazine once named the most powerful man in the music industry, was hesitant to speculate about when a return to live music might come in the United States. But when it does, he’ll have his eyes trained on an area he knows well — the California desert, he told The Desert Sun

Here are more stories and updates from the Coachella Valley arts community.

 

ART

Artists from near and far painted and decorated more than 350 ceramic eggs for the Eggstravaganza exhibit and fundraising auction taking place both online and in-person at Old Town Artisan Studios throughout March, the CV Independent reports. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit organization’s much-heralded arts-outreach program.

Throughout the pandemic, Palm Springs Art Museum’s web series Insider’s View has been engaging, informing, and inspiring the community with short videos including artist talks, studio visits, and gallery walk-throughs. Recent programs feature artists Gerald Clarke and Jim Isermann, both the subjects of current exhibitions at the museum, and Palm Springs Life editor Steven Biller discussing a selection of artworks from the permanent collection with director Louis Grachos.

The art bench project in downtown Palm Springs offers more than colorful places to sit along Palm Canyon Drive. It also represents a pandemic-era opportunity for artists to share their work at a time when gallery exhibitions are in short supply. Coachella Magazine catches up with some of the local artists participating in the city’s public art initiative.

Last spring, SaveArtSpace presented a public art exhibition on billboards throughout the Coachella Valley. The nonprofit organization’s cofounder, Justin Aversano, and artist/curator Sofia Enriquez discuss the project in the new issue of Coachella Magazine.

 

MUSIC

The Desert Hot Springs alternative rock band Slipping into Darkness, who were invited to perform at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Desert Daze, recently released their much-anticipated album “Second Wind for Our Love.” Coachella Magazine talks to the band about their influences, Paydirt cameo, and what to expect this year.

 

THEATER & STAGE

Coachella Valley Repertory’s Theatre Thursdays series continues this month with Marvelous Monologues on March 4, An Evening With Julie Garnyé (Come From Away, Frozen Live) on March 11, and Broadway Showstoppers: More Dancing! on March 18.

The Storytellers Project is launching a series of five storytelling nights called “I Am” to tell the stories of America. The insightful, entertaining shows, produced by the USA Today Network, which owns The Desert Sun, invite listeners of all identities to consider what we all have in common, and what divides us. The first, “I Am Black,” will livestream at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 2.