Art with an Edge Comes to Palm Springs' Uptown District

archangel art collective owner hopes to expand gallery offerings in neighborhood



Michael Fiacco opened archangel art collection in January in the Uptown District of Palm Springs.

courtesy of Michael Fiacco

After 12 years in corporate America, Michael Fiacco faced a crossroad.

Fiacco’s employer, London Fog, was closing shop for good in Seattle just two weeks before he was to turn 40 in 2006.

“It was fill your box and leave; it really shook me up,” said Fiacco, who was vice president of global sourcing for the iconic coat company. “But it gave me the chance to think about what do I really want to do.”

An art collector since his early 20s, Fiacco liked the idea of sharing his passion for the discipline and helping people make their own personal connection to the artwork.

“The thrill of being an art dealer is not only matching art lovers to the art that they are truly passionate about and will have for the rest of their lives, but you are making your living enhancing other people’s lives and also discussing it,” Fiacco said. “If I weren’t an art dealer and a fashion designer before that, I would have been a psychologist. I love to see that some people react strongly to one thing, but not to another.”

He opened archangel art collective in Seattle in 2010, and last spring made another life-changing decision to move the gallery to Palm Springs. He looked at gallery spaces in Napa, Hillsburg, La Mesa, Petaluma, and Sonoma, but the decision became easier because he already had a home in Palm Springs that he used as a winter escape. 

Fiacco focused on the Uptown District on North Palm Canyon Drive because of his respect for the Michael H. Lord Gallery.

“I wanted to be of (Michael H. Lord’s) quality level,” Fiacco said. “I always felt it stood out in Palm Springs.”

Archangel art collective opened in January in the new Elevations building at 1103 N. Palm Canyon Drive. There is already another gallery (Woodman Shimko), and Fiacco believes the address will become a drawing card as a café, yoga studio and a condo/time share building featuring a pool, putting greens and outdoor fireplace, fill in the space.

“This will be a landmark building,” Fiacco said. “They are using LED glass that changes color – only the second building in southern California that will have it.”

Inside archangel, Fiacco has brought in artwork from Seattle but also eight artists from the Coachella Valley such as Charlie Ciali and Karen and Tony Barone of Palm Springs.

“I kind of wanted it to be the edgier, more contemporary alternative to Michael Lord,” Fiacco said. “I try to have something for everyone within my curatorial point of view. That it has something to say, evokes a certain reaction or certain frame of mind.”

But he’s not stopping with just his own gallery.

While in Seattle, Fiacco opened the Galleries at SDC (Seattle Design Center), a collection of nine galleries including his own. He worked the space by himself while the owners of the other galleries curated their own art.

He wants to bring what he calls “that critical mass of art galleries” to the Uptown District.

“Once you have more than say four art galleries, you give people a reason to come. They know no matter what kind of art they are into, they will see something they like,” he said.

archangel art collective hosts a new artistic opening every third Thursday of each month with an artist reception from 5-9 p.m. Regular gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday and by appointment. For information, call (760) 699-5696.

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