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Desert Art Center celebrates 74 years of art in Palm Springs

The Desert Art Center holds the distinction of being the oldest art organization in the Coachella Valley. On Friday, it opened its final gallery of the 74th season.

The gallery features artworks, including oil landscapes, ceramics, photography, watercolors, pastels, handmade jewelry, glass, and more. The Center has set a record number of member artists, approximately 400, along with 140 artists juried into the gallery.

"We're becoming known," said the President of the Desert Art Center, Bruce Weber. "We have major artists who want to be a part of this organization. It gives them the opportunity to showcase their work on Palm Canyon in Downtown Palm Springs. That's helped with the growth. We average between 50-60 people who apply to be juried here, and we only accept 10 per season. The juried artists have been amazing.”

Weber also noted a remarkable 50% increase in sales from the 73rd season to the 74th, attributing it to the Center's remodeled appearance. "The remodeling this summer was instrumental in presenting this place as a legitimate gallery," said Weber.

And the DAC has created an environment that empowers local artists of all ages. "We host middle school art program. We have free Saturday morning art classes for middle schoolers and we host about 50 students a year. We have choices of 4 different classes for them to attend." said Weber. "We also host our PSUSD student art show. First place students will be given the rights to hang in our main gallery. We also give out $10,000 worth of grants towards art supplies for local High Schools."

And as the 75th season approaches, Weber is excited for what’s to come.  “It’s going to be a celebration. We’re going to have a lot of special events, shows are going to run longer, and we’re wanting to get more artist involved. We’re going to get the named “Desert Art Center’ out there. We’re a great resource and our mission is to support artist of all levels.”

And the piece that started the Art Center will return to the Valley, 75 years later. 

“Agnes Pelton founded the DAC with a group of plaine air painters back in the 1940s," said Weber. "She formed a group that built a gallery to host an exhibit. They called themselves the Desert Art Center. The painting that Pelton used to auction off the seed money to form this space is being loaned to us for our 75th season opening.” 

The Desert Art Center, situated on Palm Canyon Drive in Downtown Palm Springs, welcomes visitors seven days a week from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. For additional information, visit their site.

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Allie Anthony


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