Christi Salamone, Special to The Desert Sun Published 4:17 p.m. PT April 16, 2019
As California celebrates its inaugural Arts, Culture, Creativity Month, it’s a perfect time to marvel at the diverse offerings and staggering economic impact the arts have in Greater Palm Springs. In April alone, you can attend the American Documentary Film Festival, Garden Jam Music Festival, Opera in the Park, and the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals and tour the art installations of Desert X. These marquee events add to a robust schedule of music, theater, and dance performances; gallery and museum exhibitions; film screenings; architecture tours; and readings and lectures at venues across the Coachella Valley.
In some way, shape, or form, the arts touch every one of us in the desert. They affect us on a personal level — helping us see, connect, understand, and empathize — and also on a social and economic level: The arts unify communities, foster pride in place, and attract visitors who’ll spend money at local hotels, restaurants, attractions, and retail businesses.
These benefits only graze the true value of the arts to a community, but they underscore the reason we should support and invest in the arts.
As the arts advocacy organization serving Greater Palm Springs, the California Desert Arts Council (CDAC) works to unify, empower, and promote arts and culture in the region by providing programs and services in cultural tourism, business and professional development, education, and advocacy.
CDAC champions the diverse and dynamic artistic community, which accounts for one out of every five jobs and generates almost $1 billion per year in raw impact for the Coachella Valley. Additionally, the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau has established a goal to increase annual tourism from 13.6 million to 16 million visitors by 2025, and arts and culture are integral to its strategy. And, to support the workforce, all three public school districts serving the valley offer students pathways for careers in arts and media.
Last year, CDAC introduced ArtsTank Greater Palm Springs, a Shark Tank-like program that invites creative people and organizations to pitch high-impact ideas to win valuable support. The grant program aims to stimulate innovation in the arts and encourage publicly accessible arts-based projects to attract tourism, address concern of the community, and engage a cross-section of residents and visitors.
One of the two inaugural grant winners, Cat Chiu Phillips, presents her solar-powered art installation, Power Plants, this month at College of the Desert. A graduate of Cathedral City High School, COD, Phillips used weaving and crochet techniques to create this work entirely of discarded electronic waste. An artist talk is scheduled for Earth Day, April 22. The second winner, Peter Tigler, created a public-participation mural with attendees of La Quinta Arts Festival, and the 15-foot-long painting, Greetings, soon will be installed in Palm Springs.
The arts are vital to the quality of life and economic development of the Coachella Valley, and you can support them in many ways: attend music or theater performances; visit museums or galleries; buy art, furnishings, clothes, and décor from local artists; share your arts experiences on social media; and support the programs and initiatives of CDAC.
Together, we can do for the region what the arts do for us individually: Touch the soul and brighten the spirit.
Email Christi Salamone, president and CEO of California Desert Arts Council, at Christi@cadesertarts.org.
Visit cadesertarts.org for more information.