The Mission of the Desert Art Center, a community art resource, is to stimulate, educate, and nurture the visual arts of the Coachella Valley through a collaborative effort of membership programs, art education, and gallery space for emerging and established artists.
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- Promote community involvement through educational programs, outreach and exhibitions
- Provide a venue for the Palm Springs Annual Art Show, Palm Springs School District student art shows and other non-profits in art education and establish the organization as a resource for the Coachella Valley artists
- Augment the art education programs in the Palm Springs Unified School District through art classes for students, and financial and/or art supplies donations
- Provide affordable programming in art education
- Provide scholarships to local high school seniors who continue in an art program at a college or university
- Provide a social gathering place for artists and the local community
The Desert Art Center was established in 1950 and is the oldest art organization in the Coachella Valley. Artists who founded the Desert Art Center were dedicated to the notion that art is both a personal expression but also a contribution to the desert community through gallery and social events. Many founders of the Desert Art Center became nationally known for plein air and for capturing the beauty of the desert plants and landscape. The current Desert Art Center building was the first school in Palm Springs named for educator Frances Stevens.
See more of our history here.
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The Center is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote art in the community and provide community support for school age artists; including scholarships to Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs and Cathedral City High School seniors. It’s located next to the Palm Canyon Theater and Francis Stevens Park on historic Palm Canyon Drive. The Desert Art Center's programs have evolved over the years and have expanded substantially since leasing and renovating the Frances Stevens school buildings in the mid 1990’s.
The Center features over 140 artist members, many of whom display their artwork in the gallery and are nationally known. Paintings in oil, watercolor, acrylic, pastels and other media in addition to prints, sculptures, ceramics, glass work, bronze, photography and art cards are all on sale at reasonable prices.In addition to bi-monthly gallery shows and opening receptions, the Center provides:
The Desert Art Center offers classes 6 days a week in Class size is limited and class fees are affordable. Class schedules are available in the gallery and on this website. Students should contact the teachers directly for more information and reserving their space in the class since there are wait lists for some classes.
- Featured DAC artists opportunities;
- Middle School Art Classes to encourage young artists who do not have access to art instruction due to decreased public school funding of arts programming;
- Scholarships for graduating seniors who wish to pursue higher arts education;
- A High School Student Art Show;
- Public Arts Teachers’ small grants to supplement public school arts instruction;
- Art enhancement Sessions (Arte) that are open to the public with demonstrations and informational sessions on current arts-related topics;
- Art Classes featuring nationally known accomplished artists
- Special community events that highlight current trends and local artists
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Board of Directors
The Governing Board of the Desert Art Center is made up of the Executive Committee, which is elected by the membership for two year terms on even numbered years, and the chairpersons of the Standing Committees who are elected by the Board of Directors on odd numbered years. Click here to review the By-Laws of the governing board.
All officers of the Board and Committee members are artist/members of the Desert Art Center. To volunteer and to contribute to operating the organization, contact any of the individuals listed below or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
President Brad Zylstra
Vice President Ian Cooke
Secretary Susan Smith Evans
Treasurer Terry Casella
Member at Large Suzanne Burton