Your DEFINITIVE Guide to the Palm Springs Art Museum
The Palm Springs Art Museum was founded in 1938. It first housed a collection of natural science exhibits and Cahuilla Indian artifacts, and today stands are the largest cultural institution in the area. Here, you’ll find a wonderful and compelling collection of art, which includes a vast permanent collection and a rotating selection of exhibits.
Though the art housed within the Palm Springs Art Museum is incredible, it should come as no surprise, in an area with such an architectural legacy as Palm Springs, that the architecture of the museum itself is culturally significant. Housed inside this 150,000 square-foot masterpiece, which was completed in 1974 and added onto in 1996, are ample galleries and spaces for artistic expression, along with a 433-seat theater. Moreover, there are satellite facilities connected to the Palm Springs Art Museum, which include the Architecture and Design Center and the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert.
Within the permanent collection of the Palm Springs Art Museum are selected works from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. The majority of works featured here include contemporary art from California artists, as well as classic western and Native American art, Mesoamerican Art, Mexican art, and European modern art. There are also selections of glass studio art, American mid-twentieth century architecture, and American photography. In total, the Palm Springs Art Museum has 28 galleries, two sculpture gardens, an 85-seat lecture hall, a large gift store, a bistro, and the 433-seat Annenberg Theater.
The Annenberg Theater, which is housed inside of the Palm Springs Art Museum, features a broad range of exciting performances and events throughout the year. Not only will you find art classes, special events, films, and lectures held in this theater, but it also keeps a diverse calendar of Broadway, cabaret, jazz, classical opera, and dance performances, along with so many more things.
Their stated mission is to provide “transformative experiences that expand our understanding of ourselves and the world.” There is little doubt that they do just that. The Palm Springs Art Museum has truly embraced what it is to be a cultural institution and is an integral part of the thriving city of Palm Springs.
Upcoming Exhibits at the Palm Springs Art Museum for 2021
The permanent collection of works at the Palm Springs Art Museum features more than 12,000 objects that are representative of modern and contemporary art, architecture, and design. Within this incredible collection lies the recognition of the area’s deeply rooted history and heritage, which includes the ancestral homelands of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and other sovereign Indian Nations in the region.
Though the early days of the Palm Springs Art Museum saw a dedication to natural science exhibits and Indian artifacts, it largely shifted its focus in the early 2000s to become a nationally significant art institution. Their primary expansion has come in the areas of architecture, photography, and contemporary glass. It was actually these changes behind the decision to change the name from the Palm Springs Desert Museum to the Palm Springs Art Museum in 2005. You can read more about the evolution of the permanent collection at the Palm Springs Art Museum here.
There are art exhibits that rotate through the Palm Springs Art Museum on a regular basis. They also feature a number of online exhibitions, which make it easy to connect with the Palm Springs Art Museum no matter your location.
Though rotating exhibits vary in their content and style, you can always expect them to be innovative and inspiring. For example, the current exhibit titled Gerald Clarke: Falling Rock is a remarkable exhibit of this contemporary Native American artist. He is a member of the Cahuilla Band of Indians and works to expose various injustices, both past, and present, found in the social, economic, and environmental fabrics of our world.
There are also rotating exhibits at the Architectural and Design Center, which does an excellent job of showcasing various elements of architecture and design. For example, in 2020 the center featured an exhibit titled Jim Isermann. Copy. Pattern. Repeat., which has been a delightful examination of the works of local artist Jim Isermann over his life.
Though we are in extraordinary times right now, with the COVID-19 pandemic canceling many planned art exhibits and interrupting docent-led tours of the Palm Springs Art Museum, we look forward to these things returning to Palm Springs in the spring of 2021. In fact, partaking in a docent-led tour is one of the best ways to experience this incredible space, and to gain a true appreciation for the incredible works found here.
More to do at the Palm Springs Art Museum
This gem of a building, which was formerly the Santa Fe Federal Savings & Loan Building, was purchased by the Palm Springs Art Museum in 2011 and turned into the Architectural and Design Center. The building was designed by E. Stewart Willings in 1960 and is a prime example of the midcentury modern architecture for which Palm Springs is so famous.
Within these walls, you’ll find a number of architecturally-related exhibits and educational programs. A significant piece of this collection of the Frey House II, the famous home built by architect Albert Frey in 1963. Frey is considered to be one of the most important modern architects of our time. He has designed plenty of important structures, such as the Palm Springs City Hall and the Aerial Tramway Valley Station.
Don’t miss your chance to visit the Museum Design Store while you’re at the Architecture and Design Center. It’s located in the original bank vault of the building, which is a cool experience in and of itself. Moreover, the store offers an incredible selection of design-focused books, games, and stationery items. There is also a delightful collection of products that represent the best of contemporary design, including original works by local artists.
This museum is a satellite operation of the Palm Springs Art Museum and is housed inside a building named The Galen. It was first opened to the public in 2012. Here, you’ll find an ongoing selection of temporary art exhibits, most of which are internationally significant.
This museum is also home to the Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden, which features a number of significant sculptures completed by local and regional artists. Surrounding the sculptures is a beautiful and well-landscaped desert oasis, that features a wonderful array of native plants, winding walkways, and water features.
Get to Know the Palm Springs Art Museum
Palm Springs Art Galleries & More
Though a visit to the Palm Springs Art Museum, as well as the Architectural and Design Center and the Palm Desert Art Museum, is an absolute must when visiting our Palm Springs Hotel. Even so, there is so much more art in this city that just begs to be discovered. We also recommend you spend a fair amount of time browsing local art galleries and enjoying the public art installations around town.
Palm Springs Art Galleries
There is plenty of art to admire and even purchase should the desire strike in Palm Springs. Visit the many art galleries in Palm Springs, and you’ll find a range of exhibitions of art, ranging from photography and fine art prints to blown glass sculpture. Here are 5 great places to start:
- M Modern Gallery, which is dedicated to the works by the famed illustrator and painter SHAG.
- The CODA Gallery, located alongside some high-end shopping and dining in the El Paseo district, is a great place to commission an original piece of art or browse for something contemporary to add to your collection.
- For something truly unique, head to the Backstreet Art District, where you’ll find several artist-owned galleries lining the streets.
- Head to Barba Contemporary Art, and marvel at their incredible collection of works from established and emerging artists around the country.
- The Stewart Galleries is a high-end space that carries an eclection selection of fine art. It’s also a great place to shop for estate furnishings if you’re in the market.
Public Art Installations Around Palm Springs
Art really is everywhere you look in Greater Palm Springs and Palm Desert, and there are a number of events throughout the year, like Desert X, which continues to highlight the importance of public art. Whether you’re a dedicated art connoisseur or just a casual observer of art, there is so much to admire as you travel from place to place in the Coachella valley. Here are a few of our favorites:
- The “X Marks the Place” at the Cathedral City Public Library – it is a beautifully welded steel sculpture by artist Simi Dabah.
- Another great find in Cathedral City of the Fountain of Life, created by artists Jennifer Johnson and architect Reuel Young, A.I.A.
- In the town of Coachella, nothing could be more suited to the environment than the mural of an anonymous farm worker in the Pueblo Viejo neighborhood. It was commissioned by the city of Coachella and completed by artist El Mac. There’s another beautiful mural in Coachella by Mexican artist Sego y Obval called La Cosecha del Futuro.
- In downtown Coachella, don’t miss Etherea, which was originally displayed during Coachella 2018. It is a breathtakingly beautiful sculpture created by artist Edoardo Tesoldi.
- Head to the town of Indio and take in the amazing Moving Towards the Future mural by artist David Ocelotl Garcia.
- In Palm Desert, the Messenger of the Puul Sculpture, which honors the Cahuilla Indians, is a must-see. This stunning work was created by artist Curt Mattson.
- Another great stop in Palm Desert is The Dreamer, a relaxed-looking statue at the Palm Desert Civic Center Park. This was created by artist David Phelps.
- For a bit of whimsy and fun, go learn What the Nose Knows. This fun sculpture was created by Canadian artist Ron Simmer and is found on El Paseo.
- In Palm Springs, the Isabelle statue is a stunning sculpture by quantum physicist turned artist Jullian Voss-Andreae. It positively sparkles in the sun and is extraordinary.
- The Rainmaker Fountain in Palm Springs is one of the most recognizable public works of art in the city. It was created by artist David Morris in 2000 and can provide a mesmerizing afternoon of fun.
The Best Palm Springs Hotel Near the Art Museum
There are so many wonderful things to do in Palm Springs and the surrounding areas, but at the top of your list should be visiting the Palm Springs Art Museum. Palm Springs has long been heralded as a top art destination in the world, and it is thanks to institutions like these. Perhaps best of all, the Palm Springs Art Museum is within walking distance of our hotel.
Though our close proximity to the Palm Springs Art Museum makes our hotel a good candidate for lodging, there are many finer reasons to choose to stay at our Palm Springs Hotel. To start, our luxury 5-star hotel property offers an incomparable retreat. When it comes to Palm Springs hotels, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something that offers such a secluded, upscale paradise such as this. Our historic hotel has been the treasured home to some of the world’s most famous figures over the years and has long been the esteemed retreat of many Hollywood celebrities and Captains of Industry. Just as these famous inhabitants have found the elegance they craved in a retreat, so too, will you.
From the moment you first arrive on our property, where you’re surrounded by lush terraced gardens, luxurious accommodations, and breathtakingly beautiful desert panoramas. It won’t take you long to see what makes this hotel such a special place. But, aside from that, our hotel is also a distinguished piece of Palm Springs history. The building that houses our hotel holds a rare and prestigious “Class 1” historic designation, and it is honored as one of the ten oldest structures in the entire City.
Our Palm Springs hotel has a well-earned reputation for excellence. Rest assured that every detail of your stay will be thoughtfully tended to. You’ll experience the same ineffable charms that once beguiled the likes of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Joseph P. Kennedy, Marion Davies, Shirley Temple, and Dr. Albert Einstein. There is nothing ordinary about a stay at this historic Palm Springs hotel. With only 17 guest rooms, our hotel retains the feel of a private, secluded hideaway, which is exactly what it was built in the first place.
Our Palm Springs hotel offers guests a range of amenities that even the most discerning of travelers will appreciate. We start your day off with a gourmet multi-course breakfast. Take your time to enjoy the meal, which can only be made better by the dramatic 50-foot waterfall in the background. When you need a break in the afternoon, join us for a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception in the lounge. For all the hours in between, our concierge is happy to help you plan, reserve, and arrange your itinerary.
Embrace the history and elegance of Palm Springs by booking your room at the #1-rated luxury Palm Springs hotel.