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27 Mar 2019

Setting a Higher Bar: The Newly Independent Artists Council Christens Its New Home in Palm Desert With 'Metamorphosis'

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“Andreas Trail III” by Marilyn Froggatt. “Andreas Trail III” by Marilyn Froggatt.

The Artists Council is now fully independent from the Palm Springs Arts Museum—and its inaugural exhibition as an independent organization, rather appropriately, is based on the theme Metamorphosis.

The exhibition and sale will be celebrated with a catered opening-night reception on Thursday, March 28, from 6 to 8 p.m., and will be on display at the Artists Council’s new home—the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert—through Friday, April 12. The exhibition is free and open to the public, as is the opening-night reception, at which attendees will be able to meet the artists and vote for the People’s Choice Award.

For 50 years, the Artists Council was a part of the Palm Springs Art Museum. On Jan. 1, the Artists Council became a fully independent nonprofit organization. Its mission is to promote the art and artists of the Coachella Valley.

Metamorphosis was chosen as the first exhibit’s title by the new board of directors.

“We chose this theme for our inaugural event because it mirrors the process by which our new Artists Council is developing,” said exhibition chair Tony Radcliffe in a written statement. “Our goal is to demonstrate the high quality of artistic achievement by AC members and to bring a new audience to see their work in the beautiful art museum known as the Galen. This is also an opportunity for the public to visit (the Palm Springs Art Museum) in Palm Desert. All of the artwork is for sale, with proceeds split between the artists and the new Artists Council.”

I spoke with Radcliffe by phone about how the transition was going, as well as the Artists Council’s new home at the Galen, the Metamorphosis show, and the future vision for the Artists Council.

“Since becoming independent in January, there seems to be more energy, and it’s an exciting time for us,” he said. “The hardest part, the dirty work, was creating a new nonprofit organization. There are all the finances and budgets. When we were part of the museum, all of that was done for us. Sometimes, changes are hard.

“We are very happy to have our exhibition at the Galen. There’s 4,000 square feet of display space. This allows us to do much more interesting things and to show more local art. I think it will help invigorate the space and draw a different audience—people who may not attend museum shows. There’s a lot of talent in the local scene. Lots of artists live in this area.”

Radcliffe said it’s important to the artists to have their work shown in a museum setting.

Metamorphosis is a juried museum show. This sets the bar higher, and we are building on that high quality,” he said. “Our jurors are well-known and respected. You really have to improve your art to get into these shows.

“The Artists Council offers critiques for our members and classes to improve not only the art, but also improve the business side of what they do. The classes and critiques are run by experienced artists. This allows our members a chance to look at things differently.”

The Metamorphosis jurors are Alma Ruiz, a senior fellow at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Los Angeles, and curator of the 2020 Bienal de Arte Paiz in Guatemala City; and Mary Ingebrand-Pohlad, internationally known for her abstract landscape sculptures and member of the Palm Springs Art Museum board of directors.

The new Artists Council board has a bold vision for the council.

“We’re talking about an online gallery with the ability to purchase art online. This would give us a whole new audience,” Radcliffe said. “We’d like to try to have exhibits outside of our area and invite other Southern California artists and even artists from foreign countries to participate. We’d like more opportunities to show our work in other museums.”

Metamorphosis, an exhibit by the Artists Council, will be on display through Friday, April 12, at the Palm Springs Museum of Art in Palm Desert, 72567 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. For more information, visit artistscouncil.com.

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