Show Preview | La Quinta Arts Festival

La Quinta, CA

Civic Center Park, March 1-4

Martin Lambuth, Autumn Afternoon, oil, 48 x 60.

Martin Lambuth, Autumn Afternoon, oil, 48 x 60.

This story was featured in the March 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art March 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Picture yourself strolling amid rolling green lawns, sparkling lakes, and cool waterfalls nestled in Southern California’s Coachella Valley. Now picture this: The La Quinta Arts Foundation transforms the oasis into an inspiring outdoor art exhibition for its 36th annual arts festival. The four-day affair kicks off in La Quinta’s Civic Center Park on Thursday, March 1, and presents an enticing lineup of daily entertainment and culinary fare.

From a sea of competitive entrants, this year’s jury whittled the group down to 220 top contemporary artists from around the country. Collectively, they represent 11 different fine-art and crafts categories, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, and photography. “For each of the categories, we had five jury members who only judged their category,” says events manager Kathleen Hughes. “They looked at the total aesthetic of each artist’s work, but they also considered whether the works would bring balance to the show.”

Joining the event for the first time is Debra Steidel, this year’s featured artist. The Texas sculptor creates porcelain vessels with dazzling, crystalline glazes and sculpted, multihued glass and bronze lids that showcase her love for flora and fauna. Also among the participating artists is California landscape painter Erin Hanson, this year’s poster artist, who celebrates the Santa Rosa Mountains in a series of oils that spotlight the local peaks. “Our city is embraced by the mountains—it feels like you can reach out and touch them,” says Hughes. “And Erin is an avid mountain climber, so the mountains really are special to her.”

Each artist goes the extra mile to make his or her personal exhibit space an engaging experience for visitors, notes Hughes. Some accent their displays with fresh flowers, and Steidel arranges many of her sculptures on pedestals outside her booth, where sunlight reflects off their crystal glazes. “When you walk into the show, you do feel like you’re stepping into a gallery,” says Hughes. “For most of the artists, this is their top-selling show of the year. They want to maximize this opportunity, so they really take it seriously.”

Dubbed the most stunning festival site in the country by Art Fair SourceBook, the locale alone is worth a visit. “Even if you just want to come to watch the sunset as it slips behind the mountains, that’s an experience in itself,” says Hughes. —Kim Agricola

contact information
760.564.1244
www.lqaf.com

This story was featured in the March 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art March 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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