Who We Are

our mission

The mission of the Desert Art Center, a non-profit organization, is to stimulate, educate, and nurture creativity in the Coachella Valley. Through the collaborative effort of membership programs, art education, and gallery space for emerging and established artists we provide: 

– Affordable, accessible art education programs

– A supportive creative resource for Coachella Valley artists to display and sell their artwork

– A social gathering place for our artists and community

student education

The Desert Art Center has been involved with community art programs since it was incorporated as a non-profit in July 1950. Our programs have evolved over the years to meet the changing interests of Coachella Valley residents. We continue to explore new ways to expand our community outreach.

We are extremely committed to the art education of students of all ages. Strong civic and community relationships enable us to augment art education programs in the Palm Springs Unified School District, introducing middle and high school students to expert art instruction by professional artists.

In addition, we provide scholarships to local high school seniors who enter an art program at a college or university as well as funding support for school art supplies.

history of the desert art center

The Desert Art Center was established in 1950 and is the oldest art organization in the Coachella Valley. The artists who founded the Desert Art Center believed that being an artist is more than personal expression, it includes making a contribution to the community. They did this through the establishment of a gallery and by providing classes and events for the community. Many founders of the Desert Art Center became nationally known artists. 

The Desert Art Center is located in a landmark building that was the first school in Palm Springs. The school was built in 1927 by Frances Stevens, wife of cattle rancher Prescott T Stevens, who built the El Mirador Tower in 1928. The building began its life as their home until the first classrooms were constructed in 1927. In 1974 the City of Palm Springs purchased the site, and President Gerald Ford dedicated it as a permanent home for the cultural arts.

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