April 15, 2011, (Palm Springs, CA) The Palm Springs Art Museum’s Board of Trustees at its April meeting voted official approval to proceed with the development of a satellite facility and sculpture garden in Palm Desert. This vote was spurred by the successful completion of the museum’s initial fundraising goal, spearheaded by a magnanimous naming gift of $1 million from major donor Helene Galen in memory of her husband Lou. Funds are dedicated toward necessary modifications and improvements to the satellite building and general operating costs including an ambitious schedule of exhibition and education programs and other community events that the museum plans to present at its new location.
The satellite facility will occupy a handsome, 5-year-old, LEED Certified building formerly used as the Palm Desert Visitors Center, and the beautifully landscaped gardens that surround it, located in Palm Desert at the intersection of Highway 111 and El Paseo Drive. Work on renovations to the building and the installation of outdoor sculptures in the garden will begin this summer, and the public opening of the facility is now envisioned for early 2012.
Fundraising for the project, which includes formation of a Founders Society, has been overseen by Ed Monarch and Jerry Fogelson, co-chairs of the museum’s Palm Desert Organizing Committee. These important efforts will continue into the future.
The Galen gift is a milestone in this campaign and motivates the whole project forward. “Helene’s extraordinary contribution, combined with that of the initial Founders Society members brought us to the point where we had the confidence as an institution to move forward with this exciting project,” commented Harold J. Meyerman, Chairman of the museum’s Board of Trustees. “It is crucial that the museum raises money not only to fund the cost of building improvements but also for ongoing operations. Only in this way can we have the cultural impact in the Mid-Valley and East-Valley regions that we strive for and that these communities deserve.” Steven Nash, museum Executive Director, added “This project and Helene’s gift mark a true milestone in the museum’s 73-year history!”
“I am honored that my contribution will enable the museum to expand its mission of providing quality art and arts education to the mid and eastern portion of the Coachella Valley,” said Helene Galen. “My husband, Lou Galen, was a long-time desert resident and I chose to honor him by naming this environmentally sensitive building in his memory. We have both been avid supporters of the Palm Springs Art Museum because we shared a belief that it is a unique cultural center and provides so many opportunities for residents and visitors to experience the extraordinary wealth of art and entertainment in the desert.”
The Galen name is well known throughout Southern California philanthropic community primarily because of the Galen Basketball Arena at USC, which is called the Galen Center. Mrs. Galen is on the Board of Trustees at USC, as well as the Board of Governors of the Keck School of Medicine, and is an active supporter of the arts in the greater Los Angeles area.
Mrs. Galen has been a resident of the desert since 1975. She is an extremely well known philanthropist who is financially active with both time and money in the support of more than 50 non-profit organizations. She is Vice Chairman of the Palm Springs Art Museum and McCallum Theatre, President of the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, and serves on the Board of Governors of Eisenhower Medical Center. She is also a major donor of the Palm Springs International Film Festival and Awards Gala and financially supports many not-for-profit organizations in the desert, such as the Desert AIDS Project, the Stroke Recovery Center, the AIDS Assistance Program, ACT for MS, FIND Food Bank, and the Virginia Waring Piano Competition.
The new museum will provide exciting exhibitions, community events, educational tours, classes and lectures for all ages. The centerpiece of the project will be the finest sculpture garden east of Los Angeles. Set in a lushly landscaped desert oasis of water features, native plants and winding walkways dotted with natural rock benches, the Palm Desert facility’s sculpture garden will house the works of modern masters.
The interior of the building will boast four separate gallery areas that will feature rotating exhibits designed to complement the more expansive exhibits by the same artists being featured at the Palm Springs Art Museum. An additional photography gallery will display the works of local and international master photographers and multimedia artists. One of the most exciting elements of the facility will be the education wing, which will be used for art-making classes, curatorial lectures and hands-on museum experiences. In addition, this area will enable the museum to solidify partnerships with local organizations, schools and universities for after-school classes and intern/mentor programs, and provide a space for social programs for area libraries and galleries. Exhibition concepts and details about the museum’s plans for adding fine art sculptures to the building’s beautifully landscaped gardens will be announced in the coming months.
The Palm Springs Art Museum’s main facility is located in downtown Palm Springs in a 150,000 square foot architecturally-significant building and features compelling exhibitions and a robust permanent collection of modern, contemporary, Western and Native American, Mesoamerican and glass art in 28 spacious galleries and in its two outdoor sculpture gardens. The museum offers educational lectures, films and an assortment of programs and art workshops for all ages.