By Alison Elsner

Just as an impressionist painting represents an overall image that, up close, reveals a significantly greater number of brushstrokes and juxtapositions of color than first realized, the Indian Wells Arts Festival is more than a showcase of original artists’ compositions.

Oh, rest assured, it definitely features a myriad of eye-popping, show-stopping, sensory works of art presented in a wide variety of compelling mediums. Art exhibits and live demonstrations, hosted by the artists themselves and most all available for purchase, are strategically situated across the idyllic expanse of the concourse of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, ready to welcome at least 12,000 guests over the three day Easter weekend, April 3, 4 and 5, 2015.

This Festival represents a juried show with a panel of judges who will award first, second, and third place ribbons to artists in 11 categories and 20 mediums.

On-site demonstrations will include glass blowing, painting, weaving, large-scale stone sculpturing, Larger-Than-Life mural painting, wood carving and pottery throwing in addition to the “Recycle Bicycles” display, sidewalk chalk drawing, and interactive art projects, including several geared for children.


The Festival also presents a cornucopia of other activities.

The Objet Trouvé Found Art Festival, dubbed a “Festival within a Festival”, features assemblage, collage, sculpture, installations and hands-on art demonstrations. Now in its second year, Objet Trouvé will use all types and sizes of boxes and crates for the public to explore this year’s theme, ‘Think Inside the Box,’ coordinated by Karen Riley of the S.C.R.A.P. Gallery (Student Creative Recycled Art Project) and Bill Schinsky of the Coachella Valley Art Center. The Objet Trouvé exhibit area will also offer activities for children to encourage creative expression and emphasize a take-away message of environmental sustainability. The exhibit will be hard to miss… just look for the 20 foot tall Eiffel Tower landmark!

Food and wine stations will be available throughout the venue, even offering island-themed beverages and cocktails at the Tommy Bahama Bar.

Noted entertainers will include Incendio-World Guitar; contemporary jazz keyboardist Lao Tizer, the Carbe-Durand Duo; the Rumproller Organ Trio; multi-instrumentalist Vibhas Kendzia playing Native American and East Indian flutes, soprano sax and piano solos; and Michael Kollwitz playing the Chapman Stick, a unique stringed instrument that combines the elements of guitar, bass, keyboards and drums.

The Festival proudly collaborates with several local charitable youth organizations and community partners, including: the Ophelia Project of the Coachella Valley; Coachella Valley Symphony Youth Ensemble; the International Dance Club Aztec Dancers from Desert Mirage High School; Rancho Mirage High School Theater Arts Department with a high-energy ‘Flash Mob’ performance on Saturday; and the Palm Desert Swim Club.

Guests will be able to receive personalized, commemorative photos, provided by the talented students from the Digital Arts Training Academy (DATA) at Cathedral City High School, powered by one of the Festival’s primary sponsor, Hot Purple Energy.

For Easter, the Festival will offer the “Sunday Eggs + Champagne in the Garden Brunch Menu ‘till Noon” which will begin Sunday, April 5 at 10:00am, with an accompanying performance by acoustic vocalist Dawn Bishop.

This year’s commemorative poster artist is Erin Hanson, whose 60’” X 40” acrylic painting on canvas, “Indian Wells in Bloom”, has been selected to represent the Festival’s vibrant and varied palette. Categorizing herself as an “open-impressionist”, Erin paints with a minimalist method of applying paint strokes without layering. She brings classic impressionism together with modern expressionism, adding an element of “plein-air” style. Her paintings focus on natural landscapes and have been inspired by climbing Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas and the southern California desert. Hanson has spent almost a decade professionally painting the dramatic scenery of Utah, Nevada, Arizona and California, with her home base, studio, and gallery in Glendale, California.

Thanks to the vision of veteran Festival producer Dianne Funk, the panorama of participating artists from around the country is replete with texture, color, talent, and personality.

This year’s event is fortunate to welcome several acclaimed local artists, as well, including:

  • Palm Desert resident Joanne Casey creates colorful collages on richly textured handmade papers with an impasto of acrylic paint on gallery-style canvases.
  • Artist Diane Morgan, an Indian Wells resident, is known for adding drama and mystery through the use of powerful lighting effects, reflected surfaces and exaggerated contrasts to her watercolor works.
  • Snake Jagger from Morongo Valley terms himself a “Whimsical Surrealist,” although some know him as the “painting pirate.” With acrylic on canvas as well as mixed media, his art reflects the influences upon his life, including the southern California outdoor lifestyle and the glamour of the entertainment world.
  • La Quinta husband and wife team, Charles and Linda Perkins, gravitate toward themes honoring love and nature in their mixed medium assemblages made with wire and recycled, re-purposed, and found materials.

Rated “Best of the Best” by Palm Springs Life magazine, the Indian Wells Arts Festival is ranked in the top 100 fine art and fine craft shows in the nation by Sunshine Artist magazine and Greg Lawler Art Source Review as well as a 2014 Top 100 Event by the American Bus Association.

The 13th annual Indian Wells Arts Festival is open to the public Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 3, 4, and 5, 2015, from 10:00am until 5:00pm each day (with gates closing at 4:00pm). Admission for adults is $13, and children are free for 12 and under. Parking is free, with valet parking available. The Indian Wells Tennis Garden’s main entrance is off of Washington Street at Via Sevilla between Highway 111 and Fred Waring Drive in Indian Wells, California.

For further information, please visit www.IndianWellsArtsFestival.com, email info@indianwellsartsfestival.com or call 760-346-0042. The Festival can also be found at facebook.com/indianwellsartsfestival and on Twitter @iwartsfestival.