Explore new Palm Springs art galleries, more this holiday weekend

A sculptural display at archangel art collective, a new gallery that had its grand opening Jan. 17 in uptown Palm Springs. Photo by Will Dean

Palm Springs’ Uptown Design District in recent years has increasingly become known for its multitude of offerings to tempt and appease the senses.

There are a variety of restaurants popular with locals and visitors (Copley’s, Trio, Cheeky’s, Birba, Jiao, Jake’s, Workshop Kitchen + Bar); furniture and accessory shops where design enthusiasts can spend the better part of a day (Just Modern, Modernway, Insolito Home, Dwight Polen Fine Chinese Antiques, Just Fabulous), and stylish clothiers for those interested in outfitting themselves in modern and/or vintage looks (Trina Turk, Raymond/Lawrence, Wil Stiles, Deja Vu Vintage Finery).

And what would a thriving commercial district be without art galleries? Art has long been an uptown staple with Michael H. Lord, Stephen Archdeacon and other galleries showing provocative contemporary works.

New to the art scene are archangel art collective and Woodman/Shimko Gallery, which opened Thursday next-door to one another at 1103 and 1105 N. Palm Canyon Drive, respectively. A large crowd of art enthusiasts roamed between the two galleries, mingling with the featured artists and admiring their work. Many welcomed the additions to the arts community.


This artwork by Jerry Hanson, a Palm Springs artist showing at archangel art collective, was created by weaving together specially coated strips of paper. Photo by Will Dean

“There’s some good stuff in here,” Blake Holiday of Palm Springs said at archangel art collective. “Everywhere I look I want to see more.”

Described in promotional material as a fine art gallery, archangel’s opening show “aLiVE” exhibits the diverse work of 24 artists from the Coachella Valley, Seattle and other areas. The featured desert artists include Alex Koleszar, who moved to Palm Springs from L.A. a year ago.

It was his first valley show, which he described as “a little nerve-wracking.” His nerves didn’t show as he greeted guests, posed for photos and answered questions about his artwork. He has four pieces on display–all very different but compelling and stunningly realistic.

Alex Koleszar stands in front of some of his artwork on display at archangel art collective in Palm Springs. Photo by Will Dean

Koleszar described his work as autobiographical, a reflection of a sometimes painful journey. He’s experienced the loss of many friends who died from AIDS, he said. Then, four years ago, Koleszar’s partner of 26 years, Dr. Scott Hitt, died of colon cancer.

His move to Palm Springs allowed him to clear his head and regain his spirit for painting:  ”Art has been the one saving grace that has enabled me to navigate forward.”

The “aLiVE” show, which runs through Feb. 19, features acrylic, oil, watercolor, encaustic, charcoal, mixed media, ceramic, glass, and bronz media (http://www.archangelartcollective.com and 760.699-5696).

Woody Shimko, who’s been a part-time Palm Springs resident for 14 years, recently was inspired to make the desert his primary residence and open Woodman/Shimko.

“I think [Palm Springs] itself is art, with the mountains and the structure of the buildings,” he said.

Shimko’s first show features the work of two valley artists and five Provincetown artists. He also owns a gallery in Provincetown, but wants to show more valley artists.

Art was also on the menu Thursday at Trio Restaurant which hosted a reception for photographer Brett Thomas’s “Reflection of My Mind” show. Hosted by Mark Anton, Michael Childers, Melissa Morgan, Bill Nicholson, Tony Marchese and Mark Van Laanen, the exhibit includes stunning, evocative but dream-like images of nature. So the next time you dine at Trio (707 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs), notice the photographs that surround you. A portion of the art sales benefits AIDS Assistance Program.

It’s a holiday weekend for many, as civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and work are recognized Monday, Jan. 21. If you’re looking for ways to while away the additional hours, check out our calendar of events at www.lgbt.blogs.mydesert.com . Happy MLK Day.