by Marisa Holladay
Across the globe there are more than 7,000 languages spoken, but only three are arguably universal: music, math, and art. Each being a form of expression, art is the constant in its ability to convey sentiment and intention through the five basic senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch, all of which can be experienced at the Indian Wells Arts Festival.
Renowned as a top-30 fine art show in the nation, the 17th annual Indian Wells Arts Festival brings together 200 acclaimed and juried artists from 25 states across the nation and 25 countries around the world, reflecting accolades from more than 50 prestigious institutions such as the Smithsonian, MOCA Los Angeles, the San Diego Museum of Art, Palm Springs Art Museum, and the Kyoto Museum in Japan.
Presenting in over 30 mediums and categories, festival-goers will be transported to a tactile and visually vibrant terrene filled with sculpture in metals, stone, clays and glass; paintings and photography granting vistas from all perspectives, literally and figuratively; sparkling gemstones, minerals, beads and precious metals exquisitely crafted into jewelry of all types; and textiles, woven and spun from silks and yarns into tapestries and wearable art fashion.
Encouraged to look, touch and feel, collectors and art aficionados will appreciate the chance to meet and connect with the artists, learning about the influences in culture and tradition, and the techniques used to create their one-of-a-kind works, available for sale directly from the makers. Shrinking miles into mere paces, festival-goers will encounter artists such as Gedion Nyanhongo from Zimbabwe whose beautiful work is sculpted in the style of Shona Sculpture passed down from his father using Opal Stone, Springstone and Zimbabwe Nyanga stone.
Celebrated portraitist Giovanni Bosica from Italy will premier stateside his new collection of dramatic abstract paintings. Victor Yurivilca from Peru draws inspiration for his fabulous sterling silver and semi-precious gemstone jewelry from the grandeur of his birthplace, a small village nestled high in the Andes. While Tatsuo Sagane from Japan presents traditional ceramics crafted on his remote cherry-blossom mountaintop village in the Kyoto Prefecture, where he fires his pottery made with the same soil in which he sustainably grows wheat to make his favorite Soba tea.
Closer to home, Arizona-based artist Gary L Moser’s functional art furniture features live edge wood surfaces juxtaposed with handcrafted metal tree bases in nature’s perfect forms of Aspen, Mesquite, Juniper and more. However, it’s 2019 Feature Artist and Coachella Valley native Leslee Adams who anchors the festival with her commemorative painting “Flor de Vida” (Flower of Life), an original watercolor ode to the beauty and life found in the festival’s home desert, commissioned to reflect the caliber of art at the event and serve as a gorgeous memento as a commemorative poster print.
Complementing the vibrant prism of color and texture is the art activities pavilion where non-profit organizations join the event as Community Partners leading engaging art stations, free for participants of all ages and skills.
Attendees will have the opportunity to get hands-on with an immersive experience in creating art without sight, led by the Braille Institute – Rancho Mirage, while Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert teaches block print art. SafeHouse of the Desert returns with gratitude rock painting and Old Town Artisan Studio keeps the wheel spinning with pottery throwing, and Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital Foundation gives art-lovers the chance to color their own version of the festival’s commemorative poster. Desert Arc, Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine, Alzheimer’s Association Coachella Valley, and CREATE Center for the Arts Palm Desert will also be leading fun activities.
Additionally, students from Cathedral City High School’s Digital Arts Technology Academy will present an interactive photo-op using solar power harnessed by festival sponsor Hot Purple Energy.
Orchestral melodies float throughout the venue as performed by the talented Coachella Valley Youth Ensemble Program along with native flutist Vibhas Kendzia, and World Guitar supergroup Incendio entertains from the main stage.
Tantalizing tastes and smells round the palette at the festival’s Gourmet MarketPlace featuring specialty artisans with original production fare such as 100% pure and barrel-aged maple syrups from Tim Burton of Burton’s Maplewood Farm in Indiana; epicurean oils and vinegars from Christopher Szumelda of Seven Barrels; and hand-sewn fabric note cards by Lissa Malone of Pelham’s Paperie.
The festival’s “Eggs + Champagne in the Garden” brunch menu until noon on Saturday and Sunday will be enjoyed under the shaded pavilion, with the Oasis Bar and Champagne Circle Bar offering refreshing spirits and mimosas.
Presented by the City of Indian Wells, the Indian Wells Arts Festival runs March 29 -31 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. all three days. Admission is $13 for adults and free for children younger than 12. Tickets may be purchased online at www.indianwellsartsfestival.com and at the box office during the event. Free and valet parking are available. Indian Wells Tennis Garden is located at 78-200 Miles Avenue in Indian Wells.
Hi-res images for download:
“Opening Day at the Indian Wells Arts Festival”
“Beauty From The Earth, Stone Sculpture by Gedion Nyanhongo”
“Flor de Vida” watercolor painting and 2019 Commemorative Print by Leslee Adams
“Pottery-throwing with Old Town Artisan Studio”