The Palm Springs Modern Committee Robert Imber Scholarship recipients, left to right: Ephraim Patterson, Eliza Moto, Jacob Baskin, and Amy Ramirez.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MADALINA GARZA
Four local high school graduates who received scholarships from the Palm Springs Modern Committee (PS ModCom) were honored at a special celebration June 9 at the midcentury modern home of board member and preservationist Chris Menrad.
The students, along with their families and friends, were treated to a catered reception and honored with congratulatory salutations from the organization’s board members and scholarship director Peter Blackburn. Each of the students received a fashionable tote bag filled with coffee table books and documentaries on modernism, a map of significant Palm Springs midcentury modern architecture and a complimentary lifetime membership to PS ModCom.
“Thanks to increased board, sponsor and member support, we’re excited to be able to expand our scholarship support for local graduates as they continue their educational journey on a path toward careers in architecture, design, landscape or building-related engineering,” said Blackburn, who announced that beginning this year the scholarship program has been expanded from a one-time $2,500 award to a renewable scholarship for up to $10,000 over a four-year period.
“Helping local students to gain an appreciation for their hometown’s unique design legacy, it is our hope that their futures will embrace and protect our architectural treasures, whether here in Palm Springs or elsewhere,” he adds.
The new scholarships have been renamed in fond memory of the Education Committee’s founder Robert Imber, who was a seminal figure in bringing Palm Springs midcentury modern architecture to the public eye through education and private tours of significant Palm Springs Desert Modern Architecture.
This year’s scholars are: Ephraim Patterson, Palm Springs High School, architecture/construction engineering; Jacob Baskin, Palm Springs High School, sustainable architecture; Amy Ramirez, Cathedral City High School, sustainable studies/sustainable design; and, Eliza Moto, Rancho Mirage High School, mechanical engineering/robotics.
Additionally, PS ModCom’s Education Committee has expanded their architecture education program to include public schools. Originally developed at St. Theresa Catholic School, the program is being implemented at Palm Springs High School and middle schools including Nellie Coffman, Raymond Cree, James Workman, and Painted Hills.
The program educates students on the desert's built environment including what is unique to the Coachella Valley: Desert Modern Architecture. Students then build scale models of either iconic local buildings or a Desert Modern home of their own design. “Having the students actually build something with their own hands and not on a computer becomes an experience they’ll never forget,” said Education Committee Chair Joan Gand.
Founded in 1999, the Palm Springs Modern Committee (PS ModCom) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the appreciation and preservation of Desert Modern architecture and design. The organization accomplishes this through education, advocacy for threatened buildings, promotion of heritage tourism, and the celebration of successes in preservation and adaptive reuse.
For more information, visit psmodcom.org.