Christi Salamone, President/CEO of the La Quinta Arts Foundation (LQAF), retired today after twenty-four years of dedicated service. 

Since its 1982 inception, LQAF has raised the cultural profile of the Coachella Valley with its nationally recognized programming, and has become a champion of the arts and education.

“For four decades, La Quinta Arts Foundation has provided cultural enrichment for the public, opportunities for working artists, and financial support for students,” Salamone stated. “I’m proud of the work we have done and will continue to do to promote the arts and support local students in their pursuit of the creative arts.”

Salamone’s career spans twenty-four years of service in the arts and culture sector in the Coachella Valley. Under her leadership, the foundation’s flagship La Quinta Arts Festival grew to rank #1 Fine Art Festival in the Nation, and along with other award-winning exhibitions and programs posted more than $64 million in art sales. In 2016, in partnership with the Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Authority, LQAF launched the California Desert Arts Council (CDAC), providing information, resources and educational programs to the Coachella Valley region. 

Since inception, LQAF has awarded more than $1.3 million in local arts scholarships and provided free art education programs to thousands of elementary school students.

In addition to her work with LQAF, Salamone has served as a board member of the Californians for the Arts and California Arts Advocates..  She was bestowed the City of La Quinta’s highest honor, naming her a ‘Pillar of the Community’ in 2013.  

“Thanks in large part to Christi’s strong leadership, dedication and guidance over the years, we are on strong financial footing with exciting plans for the future,” stated Frank Delany, LQAF board chairman. “The board is deeply appreciative and wishes her all the best in her retirement.”

Most recently, LQAF has been working to expand its partnership with College of the Desert, focused initially on increasing access to digital arts and media education and training across the Coachella Valley.  A $225,000 LQAF grant to COD is being used to research and define best practices for digital arts and media programs and identify gaps in existing pathways and the demand for skills and training for workers in the digital arts and media sector. 

Kristen Dolan will assume leadership of those efforts and continue as LQAF managing director, overseeing operations for both the foundation and its partner organization, California Desert Arts Council. 

“I am excited for the opportunity to build on the history, talent and success of the last forty years,  further advancing creative arts, culture and education throughout the community,” Dolan said. 

LQAF is looking forward to celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2022 with the launch of La Quinta Arts Festival at the COD Street Fair, produced in partnership with the COD Alumni Association.  More information about anniversary activities and festival schedule will be announced soon. 

About LQAF

La Quinta Arts Foundation (LQAF), a 501(c) (3) charitable non-profit organization, was founded in 1982 “to promote and cultivate the arts.” 

The organization’s first initiative was creating an annual arts festival in a village-like setting. Over the almost four decades that followed, the successful La Quinta Arts Festival along with other LQAF acclaimed exhibitions tallied $6 million in art sales, supporting the livelihood of thousands of artists and providing more than $1.3 million scholarships to local college students. Recognized the world over, the La Quinta Arts Festival was named the number one fine art festival in the nation.