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Visual Arts

04 Jun 2013
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The Backstreet Art District is nestled at the foot of the mountains, predominantly in a midcentury dwelling that includes various galleries and decorative-arts businesses. The structure alone is worth a visit to see a segment of the modern architecture with which Palm Springs has become synonymous. Located on Cherokee Drive (behind Mercedes-Benz of Palm Springs on East Palm Canyon Drive), the Backstreet Art District, despite some tough times, continues to flourish and evolve. This hidden gem features arts and crafts by genuine local artists—and on the first Wednesday of every month, the galleries host an art walk that is open to all. The ugly recession led to tough times at this vibrant, colorful destination. Some previous anchor galleries have moved to locations that offer more foot traffic—but exciting new tenants have set up shop in this special enclave. The new occupants offer an international flair, as well as world-class portfolios.…
21 May 2013
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Welcome to my new column, which will feature reviews of and news about of the Coachella Valley art scene. My goal is to cover the various galleries and the exhibitions, from the newly appointed galleries on North Palm Canyon Drive, to the Coachella Valley Art Center in Indio. I have been a resident of the desert for 33 years and have seen so many galleries come and go. The good news is that there are great new galleries sprouting up, to the delight of the art community, which is a rich blend of local artists and transplants from other parts of the country. One such new gallery is the Woodman/Shimko Gallery, at 1105 N. Palm Canyon Drive—next to Archangel Art Collective, and across from the noble, iconic Michael H. Lord Gallery. I recently met with the gallerist, Woody Shimko, who established a presence in Palm Springs after operating a gallery…
06 May 2013
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Meet Richard Almada. Several months ago, he launched Desert Art Tours, a new business that offers … well, just what the name says: tours, organized and hosted by Almada, that offer attendees a chance to take in a variety of art in the desert and beyond. Almada has experience in the arts, cosmetics and real estate worlds over his 30-plus year career. As someone who does not know a whole lot about gallery/visual arts, I decided to talk to Almada about the valley’s arts scene, and where Desert Art Tours fits in. Consider yourself warned (in a good way): If you ask Almada a question about art, you are going to get a quick-paced, passionate, information-heavy answer. Here are some highlights from our chat. Why Desert Art Tours? Why now? Almada said he started the company because he recognized that there are a growing number of folks, both locals and…
24 Jan 2013
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The police officer pulled over the little dirty car heading through Joshua Tree National Park, because its driver—an unshaven male in a shabby jacket—was speeding. What caught the officer’s eye was unusual: Five women also rode in the car, sitting upright and dressed in stunning, multicolor satin gowns. With stiff body language, he walked toward the car, looking at the backs of the beautiful women, with their intricately styled hair. Then he noticed something else: Each female passenger in the car was wearing a spectacular pair of butterfly wings that bore a perfectly realistic image of a butterfly’s pattern, and were bobbing gently in a lifelike manner. “Where are you headed?” the officer asked the group. “I’m a photographer,” replied the driver, without bothering to answer the actual question; he had used those same words numerous times before to explain away potentially odd behavior. “It’s called The Butterfly Project.” The…
03 Nov 2012
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So the website for the Rancho Mirage Art Affaire says this: "This spectacular two-day event is a juried fine art and music festival featuring 100 award-winning visual artists in a variety of artistic mediums, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry and other artistic originals. The best of Smooth Jazz music will be presented on stage Saturday followed by the new addition of Rhythm and Blues on Sunday." While we can quibble with some of that description (why is "Smooth Jazz" capitalized?), considering the gorgeous weather this time of year, how can a free festival featuring numerous great visual artists and some pretty decent music (including Smooth Jazz smooth jazz) not be spectacular? The Rancho Mirage Art Affaire goes down from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 10 and 11, at Whitewater Park, 71-560 San Jacinto Drive, in Rancho Mirage. Admission is free. For more information, call 324-4511, or…
26 Oct 2012
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Every first Thursday through May, walk among the art on El Paseo, in Palm Desert. The free event takes place from 5 to 9 p.m. For more information, visit the El Paseo Artwalk website.

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