La Quinta Art Celebration returns with community support


Carmel Valley artist Nick Leonoff felt that one of his works was going to sell quickly at the La Quinta Art Celebration Thursday on the Civic Center campus.

The artist, who makes hand-blown and carved glass bowls, made a sale to one of the first people to walk through the gates after the festival opened.

“This is a beautiful festival and brings together some of the best artwork and great collectors in the country, I love it,” said Leonoff.

Art at the La Quinta Art Celebration in La Quinta, California on November 11, 2021

Kathleen Hughes, director of the La Quinta Art Celebration Event, was pleased to see 200 artists from around the world set up their businesses on the festival site, adding that she expects 16,000 visitors to the festival by Sunday.

She said it was the first time many of the 200 sellers have been able to sell works of art since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

There were challenges like the supply chain that prevented an artist from Argentina from sending artwork to the festival, a lack of cardboard to print the artist information, and some of the vendors and security company struggling with staff shortages

But the local community is stepping in to help.

The La Quinta Art Celebration in La Quinta, California on November 11, 2021.

Aspen Mills and La Quinta Baking Company donated baked goods for the artists. Caddyshack Golf Carts and a dental office will open their parking lots for the event over the weekend. Grocery Outlet provided the festival with pallets, which are also in short supply, so they could stack and move packages of water bottles around the site. A local wholesaler provided two reams of the Hughes cardstock needed for the festival free of charge.

“We had a tremendous amount of on-site support that really fills my heart with gratitude,” said Hughes. “Most of our artists are not in California and drive across the country in trucks. The local hotels have given me incredible prices.”

Ceramic, digital art, glass, and more

Music by local singer-songwriter Scott Carter and guitarist Michael Anthony Gagliardi was playing in the festival dining rooms on Thursday when about 1,000 visitors walked the grounds. This year’s event includes artists working in 2D mixed media, 3D mixed media, ceramics, digital art, drawing and pastel, fiber, glass, jewelry, painting, photography, sculpture and wood.

One of the featured artists, Daryl Thetford from Chattanooga, Tennessee, displayed two locally inspired works. “Contemporary Desert Woman” is a collage that contains statements about local fashion and style as well as the “Art of Swing” which shows the physics of a golf swing.

Photographer Lisa Kristine (right) talks about her photo with a participant in the La Quinta Art Celebration "freedom" on November 11, 2021 in La Quinta, California.

Thetford said he was one of the artists who attended the 2020 festival just before the country closed due to the pandemic. He said it was “surreal” to come back.

Lisa Kristine from San Rafael, an internationally recognized photographer who did an exhibition featured by Pope Francis at the Vatican last year, said the La Quinta Art Celebration is one of the few art festivals she attends.

“I love coming up with new pieces to share with (attendees) instead of having them come to my gallery in Sonoma,” said Kristine. “I think it’s one of the most beautiful festival areas.”

As Hughes walked the 10-acre site, she said there were no plans to increase the number of artists and did not want to limit them to smaller stands.

“I would prefer you have the opportunity to showcase yourself and create the booth you come up with,” said Hughes.

The new signature event for the city was launched when the La Quinta Arts Foundation announced in June 2019 that it was canceling its 2020 arts festival after 37 years.

A man looks at Daryl Thetford's

The first part of the new event took place in March 2020, just before other major events, including the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals, were canceled to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The city has signed a contract with Paul Anderson and SCOPE Events from the Bay Area to organize and create a unique event of the same caliber Nationally rated La Quinta Arts Festival and continues the tradition of being held on the first weekend in March.

In December, Anderson announced that due to the ongoing pandemic, the La Quinta Art Celebration would not take place in March 2021 as planned, but would be postponed to November.

It will return to its normal dates on the first full weekend in March 2022, Anderson told The Desert Sun in October.

When you go

What: La Quinta art celebration

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday

Where: 78495 Calle Tampico, La Quinta

Costs: $ 20 to $ 25

More information:

Earlier coverage by Desert Sun reporter Sherry Barkas was used for this report.

Desert Sun reporter Brian Blueskye covers arts and entertainment. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @bblueskye.

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