For more than a decade, the ceramic egg has been the signature medium for art at Old Town Artisan Studios.
“If you ask (a group of) people, ‘How many of you have a piece of pottery that you made or your child made, or someone made, and you’ve kept it for 20 years or more?’ the show of hands is remarkable,” said Victory Grund, the co-founder of the La Quinta arts organization. “Everyone has some little piece. So, for holidays, we wanted to find something that was memorable … and so for spring breaks and Easter and that type of thing, we chose the little ceramic egg.”
More than 360 of those ceramic eggs—transformed by artists throughout the Coachella Valley and beyond—will be on display in Eggstravaganza, an exhibit and fundraiser taking place both online and in-person at Old Town Artisan Studios throughout the month of March. All of the eggs will be on sale, and the proceeds will fund the organization’s much-heralded arts-outreach program.
As was the case with virtually every arts organization, Old Town Artisan Studios’ in-person operations came to a screeching halt last March, sending the three-acre campus into silence.
“I wasn’t mentally myself, because it was so hard to see that beautiful place shut down, and families not coming,” Grund said.
Nearly a year later, portions of Old Town Artisan Studios are again up and running. The Leland Gallery will be open for in-person viewing of Eggstravaganza—with strict attendance limits and precautions, of course—and some classes, with size limits, are again under way. However, much remains limited, including most of the in-person elements of the arts-outreach program.
This brings us back to the ceramic eggs, which were included in some of the 24,000 “Art2Go” kits that Old Town Artisan Studios has assembled for school students, seniors and disabled adults over the last troubled year. Eggs are also a symbol of rebirth, and Grund decided rebirth and hope would be something much-needed come March of 2021—so she and her team put out some feelers to see if artists would be interested in taking the ceramic eggs and working their magic.
“I passed the word around, and you know, the most amazing thing happened: A few friends, and artist friends, and some artists I hadn’t known before from the Artists Council—they got wind of it on social media,” Grund said. “I was just getting emails and calls all the time to get the eggs. It was like a domino effect: They would paint these gorgeous eggs, and post them (on social media), and all their friends looked at it.”
Before all was said and done, members of more than a half-dozen arts organizations were creating eggs for Eggstravaganza, as were some of Old Town Artisan Studios’ outreach students. The vast majority of the eggs will be up for sale in an online auction, with a starting bid of $20 and a “buy now” price of $100. However, a handful of eggs will be offered in open, no-limits auctions. These include eggs contributed by big names in the art world, including Robert LaDuke, Snake Jagger and Delos Van Earl.
According to a news release, the organization already has funding to distribute another 6,000 Art2Go kits with the ceramic eggs, and the funds raised via Eggstravaganza will go toward buying more—and eventually getting the outreach program fully running again, when it’s safe to do so. The program serves students via schools, the local Boys and Girls Clubs, and the YMCA; and older people via senior centers. Old Town Artisan Studios also runs arts programs for veterans and people dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.
Meanwhile, Grund said she’s excited to have people returning to Old Town Artisan Studios—and is looking forward to the day when the campus is fully back to life.
“It’s so unique,” Grund said about the Old Town La Quinta art campus. “… Someday, I hope it becomes of part of people’s tours when they come into town. They don’t have to buy anything. They don’t have to pay anything, but it’s so unique. It’s three acres.”
Eggstravaganza will be on display from Monday, March 1, through Thursday, April 1, at the Leland Gallery at Old Town Artisan Studios, 78046 Calle Barcelona, in La Quinta. All eggs will be on display and up for sale at oldtownartisanstudios.org. For more information, visit the website, or call 760-777-1444.