The work of more than 100 artists, painters, sculptors and photographers will be showcased at the Artist Council’s NEXUS exhibition and sale, from Friday, Oct. 15, through Sunday, Nov. 21.
NEXUS is no ordinary exhibit. It’s the Artists Council’s first in-person show since the pandemic arrived, and it serves as a christening, of sorts, of the group’s now-official permanent home, the Artists Center at the Galen (formerly the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert).
Three years after the Artists Council separated from the Palm Springs Art Museum, the nonprofit group has big plans for its permanent home—and foremost among those plans is an attempt to reach out to the diverse desert community.
“Artists who are in galleries and museums have been lily white,” said Carlos Garcia, an Artists Council board member. “The Artists Council wants to bring in Latinos and reach out to kids in the community. We even have a Cultural Justice Committee. … Our heart is there. We want to reach out to artists of color and a diversity of cultures, and we hope to bring in families and friends of young artists by reaching out to schools and connecting our artists to students to be their mentors.”
David Hatcher, the Artists Council board chairman, summed up the approach thusly: “It’s artreach instead of outreach.”
NEXUS, the exhibit’s theme, means “a connected group or series, as well as a central point.” Digital artist Wallace Colvard is one of the 111 Artists Council members—from the Coachella Valley and beyond, all the way to Canada and Europe—whose work will be featured.
“I work mostly with simple geometry, but sometimes incorporate my photography,” Colvard said. “In the case of ‘Indian Summer,’ it’s a textile print that I created in 2021 (that) is printed on German etching paper.”
Colvard said a local printer who uses archival inks guarantees the work will last 100 years.
Bi-coastal artist Nancy Gesimondo—she has homes in Palm Springs and Queens, New York City—says her work presents a deep connection to nature. She creates photography-based assemblages, often including objects that have an aesthetic or symbolic meaning. For example, in Gesimondo’s work “Healing,” she uses real feathers, which represent a magical occurrence.
“I was influenced by pioneering feminist artists such as Anne Brigman and Judy Chicago, who also photograph themselves in nature,” she said. “… These reflections draw upon themes associated with mythic images of the priestess that embody divine female power. In the ancient world, the priestess officiated sacred rituals. Their spiritual authority came from their inner wisdom, deeply grounded in the natural world.”
Ricardo Vela, an award-winning journalist-turned-artist, paints with acrylic and oil on glass, canvas or any other surface. He said he works with an “emotional expressionistic style” by using rich colors and broad gestural brushstrokes.
“My art is abstract and expresses my inner emotions and surroundings,” he said.
The Artists Council always welcomes new participants. Artists interested in joining the group, which currently consists of 375 members, can learn more at www.artistscouncil.com/join.
NEXUS will be on display from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, at the Artists Center at the Galen, 72567 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free (with a suggested donation); the exhibit will also be displayed online. An opening reception will take place from 5 to 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 15; tickets cost $20, and proof of vaccination and masks are required. For more information, call 760-565-6130, or visit artistscouncil.com.