The Coachella Valley art community is a close-knit family of creative individuals, but finding support can be difficult at times.
When you stumble upon like-minded art lovers with a passion for community involvement and support, it’s like finding an oasis in the middle of a desert. And just like an oasis, located in the heart of the desert, Debra Ann Mumm hosts an art supply and community art space all in one at Venus Studios Art Supply in Palm Desert.
Mumm wants to make sure the door doesn't close on any creative group. One group of 10 artists who tried to meet weekly were looking for a permanent place. Mumm stepped forward, offered her shop after a couple of introductions, gave them the keys and told them to close shop when they were done.
Palm Springs Life asked Mumm about this new creative hotspot.
What was your original vision in creating an interesting and affordable store for local artists?
"We opened in May 2011 and at the time it was more or less a reaction to the Art Colony/Blueprinter going out of business. I couldn't picture the Valley without an independent art store. The chain stores really only scratch the surface of what many artists and art students need, and are not very flexible in their selection of products. My original vision was to fill the need for the creative community and have a source to get what they needed to make their stuff happen!"
How did the idea for Venus Studios Art Supply happen? What are you hoping to accomplish?
“Much of art is a never ending learning process. The space really came about because I needed a place to be able to hold classes, initially. And workshops. A place where people could learn about how to use all of the stuff we had in the store. It seemed more logical than renting expensive banquet rooms on an as needed basis. A place where people could get their creativity on. So it turned out to also be a great venue for showcasing art and artists."
What inspires you to host and loan your space to local artists and groups?
"Because of my background as an artist, I am very empathetic at the need for exhibit space, especially for the emerging art scene. I really wanted to create opportunity for creative expression. So many talented artists are right here in our community, lacking a place to share their voice. I felt like if I had a place I would share it as much as I could."
Tell us more about some of the free art events you've hosted in the past. For example, you've had numerous spray painting events for aerosol artists, what inspires these events?
Oh man… I tell you what, that first event there was a guy Anthony, came in the store all smiling and nice and said I should put some stuff out back for people to paint on and let them bring their cans and paint. Great. Great idea! Sound’s good. Make a few flyers, put it on Facebook…No idea that 200 people would show up! We ran out of stuff to paint, people went to get boards at the hardware store, it was incredible! There was some really amazing work that went down that night. Talk about inspiring. All these guys just really need a place to go that is safe, where they can paint. That realization was the beginning of wanting to be able to create more ways to bring the community together. That is still a huge part of the mission! Community, education, and opportunity. I think events keep people interested in what’s going on.
What is coming up next?
We have a free event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 1. Artist Valentina Ratschenko-Lamdin will share her secrets on impressionism.
Venus Studios Art Supply, 41801 Corporate Way, Suite 7, in Palm Desert, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, or by appointment. Call (760) 340-5085 or visit the website.