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Artist Council juried award recipients 2019 were Martha Cowan, Karen Curry, Mike McLain, Tom Minderhoff, Dennis Johnson, Gary Patterson and Nettie Pena. (Photo: Courtesy Artists Council)

The Artists Council (AC) rolled out its new website, artistscouncil.com, at the end of September. The site has the capabilities to host virtual workshops, classes, lectures, critiques and art book discussions that are designed to inform and inspire creativity. There is also a member gallery that promotes the sale of Artists Council members’ work.

In addition, the site showcases virtual exhibitions presented in a 360-degree environment that makes one feel as if they’re walking through a gallery. Retired software developer and cartographer Steve Benzek said: “I have really enjoyed working with the Artists Council Exhibitions and Systems Committees to create virtual exhibitions, which are so important in these times. Technology has allowed us to provide viewers with the experience of touring exhibitions in their actual space. It is exciting.”

The inaugural virtual exhibition/sale, “Illusions,” debuted Oct. 5, showcasing the art of 10 volunteers who have helped to grow the new nonprofit.

The “Holiday Squares Exhibition and Sale” is currently online until Dec. 13. The virtual exhibition provides one-of-a-kind art for those looking for a special gift for friends and family this holiday season. The 84 8-by8-inch original artworks have been created by artists throughout the Coachella Valley and are priced at $100 each. All proceeds of art sales will support AC programs and exhibitions.

For the holiday season, a paint party called “Under a Starry Sky” starts Dec. 11. Taught by Bobbie Rich from Los Angeles, it will focus on creating a Van Gogh-ish Starry Night with a bit of bling, bring-your-own-beverage and some socialization — a fun meetup with friends without having to go out. Visit artistscouncil.com for class details and register through eventbrite.com.

Additional AC virtual program offerings for 2020 include three morning sessions of Mindfulness Art from Nov. 30 through Dec. 14, focusing on slow drawing and other mindful art techniques for all levels.

In the planning stages now, the Artists Council’s juried virtual exhibition and sale, “Reflections 20/20,” will be on view from Feb. 22 to April 2, 2021. Cash prizes will be awarded. AC member entries are due by Jan. 10 (see prospectus at artistscouncil.com).

Artists Council Director of Education and Professional Development Chris Cozen reports: “An exciting series of virtual classes taught by artists from throughout the U.S. are planned through June 2021, running the gamut from abstract art and printmaking to beginning sculpture and portrait drawing.”

The nonprofit Artists Council, formerly part of Palm Springs Art Museum, is now in its second year as an independent organization promoting the art and artists of the Coachella Valley and beyond. To learn more and to become a member or supporter, go to artistscouncil.com.

Suzanne Fromkin is the Artists Council’s publicity chair and also serves on Visionaries and Tools for Tomorrow boards. She retired from the fashion business and is a huge arts lover.

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