Coachella Valley Arts News – March 2021

Never Forget, an installation by Nicholas Galanin, a Native American artist from Sitka, Alaska, is one a dozen works in Desert X, an exhibition of site-specific art that continues through May 16 throughout the Coachella Valley. Photograph by Steven Biller.



Study: California lost 175,000 ‘creative economy’ jobs (Los Angeles Times)
Arts advocates and elected officials in California called for additional government spending to avert what one organization leader called a “pending cultural depression” brought on by the pandemic.

What arts orgs need to know about the federal Shuttered Venue Operators grant (Hyperallergic)
Congress earmarked $15 billion in grants for venue operators impacted by the pandemic. The funding is targeted primarily toward live venue operators, movie theaters, talent representatives, and live performing arts organizations. Museums (including zoos and aquariums) are eligible with some additional restrictions.

The $1.9 trillion stimulus package includes $470 million for the arts (artnet)
The NEA and NEH each receive $137 million funding — 60 percent of which is for direct grants and relevant administrative expenses for programming related to the pandemic; the rest goes to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations to help support local institutions and nonprofits.

CAC launches Individual Artist Fellowship grants (California Arts Council)
The deadline for California Arts Council’s Individual Artist Fellowships grant applications is April 1. The agency welcomes emerging and established artists from a broad spectrum of artistic practices, backgrounds, geographies, and communities whose work addresses themes such as race, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.



Palm Springs Art Museum director Louis Grachos resigns (The Desert Sun)
Grachos, who joined the museum in 2019, will become executive director at New Mexico contemporary arts nonprofit SITE Santa Fe. He will remain in his Palm Springs position “into the summer” to “ensure a smooth transition,” museum officials said.

‘Indian Land’ artwork sparks debate (Desert Sun)
Some members of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians object to the generic use of the word “Indian” in a popular new Desert X installation. Artist Nicholas Galanin, a Native American, says it’s a call for collective action.

Judy Chicago ‘smoke sculpture’ canceled by The Living Desert (The New York Times)
Living Smoke
was scheduled for April as part of Desert X, but the venue withdrew after an activist said the colorful display could harm the environment. A new site is pending.

‘Forever Marilyn’ opponents launch legal battle (Desert Sun)
Opponents of the new location for Seward Johnson’s $1 million, 26-foot-tall statue are threatening legal action to force the city of Palm Springs to consider an alternative site.

Carlos Ramirez brings migrant farmworkers’ experiences to Main Street (Texas Monthly)
The Coachella-based artist created Altar to a Dream, installed in Dallas, to honor his parents, who traveled across Texas and the United States to pick crops.

Lynda Keeler finds her way with neighborhood maps (California Desert Arts)
The Palm Springs-based artist has produced dozens of abstract cartographies of neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and the Coachella Valley.

Amanda Gorman mural pops up in downtown Palm Springs (Desert Sun)
The 60-by-14-foot mural by Los Angeles artist MisterAlek depicts 22-year-old Gorman at the inauguration of President Joe Biden, where she recited her poem “The Hill We Climb,” calling for unity and healing.

CREATE Center plans open house March 20 (CREATE Center for the Arts)
Visit the new Palm Desert location for a day of artist demonstrations, hands-on artmaking, tours, music, and much more. Admission is free.

Desert Art Center reopens in Palm Springs (Palm Springs Life)
DAC President Kat Macdonald talks to Palm Springs Life about reopening the center March 5 with a showcase of local artists’ photography, jewelry, glasswork, ceramics, fiber arts, mosaic, and weaving, as well as traditional acrylic and oil painting.

Artists bedazzle ceramic eggs to support Old Town Artisan Studios (Palm Springs Life)
Local artists and celebrities have painted more than 300 ceramic eggs being auctioned online through April 1 with 100 percent of proceeds earmarked for Old Town Artisan Studios’ outreach programs.



Desert Hot Springs musician takes classical concerts online (Desert Sun)
During the COVID-19 pandemic, musician Danny Holt has taken his classical concert series online, producing and directing six different performances in various locations throughout Desert Hot Springs.

Palm Springs International Dance Festival goes virtual (Palm Springs Life)
Organizer Michael Nickerson-Rossi adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by incorporating dance-centric fine arts, film, and photography — and extending the festival to reach outside the United States.

New amphitheater opens in Cathedral City (Uken Report)
The $4.5 million venue is part of the city’s revitalization. It has a seating capacity of 2,909 people for concerts — and is available to rent.



Tod Goldberg’s ‘The Low Desert’ finds noir close to home (Los Angeles Times)
The places Goldberg writes about are sticky with corruption, but what distinguishes spots like Palm Springs and Summerlin, Nev., from big cities is a determination to preserve their clean middle-class façades.