Explore Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert

"1st Fridays at The Galen" offer free opportunity

The Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert hosts the free "1st Fridays at The Galen" April 4.

Photo by Marcia Gawecki


In less than two years, the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert is gaining ground with its cutting edge art exhibits and its “urban oasis” sculpture garden.

Tourists didn’t readily see the former Palm Desert Visitor’s Center from Highway 111, so it was moved to El Paseo. Yet, the building remained vacant, so the Palm Springs Art Museum renovated it to reach art lovers in the middle and eastern side of the Coachella Valley.

The 8,500-square-foot gallery and education space has high archways and many floor-to-ceiling windows to give it much light. It’s also a “green” building by incorporating many recycled materials.

Patrons can gain a closer look for free during “1st Friday’s at The Galen”, which runs 4-8 p.m. April 4.

Named for art patron and donor Helene Galen, The Galen was originally comprised of several small alcoves and can sometimes be challenging to bring in several large pieces at once, says Arlene Amick, general manager.

In fact, for the commissioned piece, “Portrait of Helene Galen,” by Heather and Eric ChanShatz shown during “Galen at the Galen”, a freestanding wall was built.

“That piece was significant since it’s a multiple-step process in which the artists met with Helene, and made a sample book of colors and materials, and from that selection, they created her portrait,” explains Amick.

VIDEO: Hear from Director of Marketing Bob Bogard on how the Palm Desert location was created.


The current show at The Galen is called, “Recline/Design: Art and the Aesthetics of Repose.” Art pieces will include chairs, paintings and sculptures that depict the body at rest.

In the back of the museum is the Annette Bloch Education Wing with classrooms used for artist lectures and educational outreach programs. The rooms seat up to 65 people, and are A/V-ready.

In between, there’s a small installation space for rotating educational and art exhibits.

Outside The Galen is the impressive Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden featuring the work of 11 international artists. The four acres of land is adjacent to Highway 111, yet the waterfalls, alcoves and native plants create a peaceful, inter-city oasis.

“Every week, about 50 people come for yoga classes,” says Bob Bogard, director of marketing communications.

One of the standouts in the garden is a bronze sculpture of an Indian maiden entitled, “Walks Among the Stars,” by Dave McGary.

“You can see that the sculpture is bronze, but if you look closely, you can see that it’s painted and she’s wearing beaded leather clothing,” Bogard says. “The artist took a long time to get that kind of detail.”

The Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden is open to the public year-round, and the museum offers a self-guided walking tour brochure. However, it’s not necessary to buy a day pass to enjoy it.

“The Galen building is much smaller than the Palm Springs Art Museum, but we’re connected,” says Bogard. “If you join one museum, you have access to activities in both.”

For information, call (760) 346-5600 or visit www.psmuseum.org

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