In 1982, a group of civic leaders conceived an art festival as a means to attract residents to the newly formed city of La Quinta (City).
As the City grew, the La Quinta Arts Festival (Festival) grew right along with it to become the top fine art festival in the nation welcoming 20,000 attendees each year.
Success did not come easily.
Over the last three and one-half decades, the Festival has been reinvented on a periodic basis and relocated multiple times before finding its most recent home at the civic center park venue in 2005.
Since then, many positive changes have occurred to the city center, including the additions of Old Town, La Quinta Library, Wellness Center, La Quinta Museum and the Old Town Artisan Studios.
During this same period La Quinta Arts Foundation (Foundation) has experienced constantly changing industry trends and new methods of marketing fine art, including the continual need to reinvest its capital in talent, new technology and additional security.
This year’s $13.6 million Complete Streets construction project scheduled June 2019 through October 2020, as well as additional residential and commercial development projects on the horizon, continues the historic pattern of intensified use of the civic center park venue and bring additional challenges to future access for the Festival.
While the Foundation appreciates the ongoing efforts of the City to mitigate the inevitable effects of its growth and progress, the Foundation now recognizes a simple fact – the Festival has outgrown the civic center park venue.
And so, this week the Foundation notified the City of its decision not to stage the 2020 Festival, thereby providing the City with more than ample time to identify and work with others, as well as to efficiently complete both current and pending development projects in the Village.
The Festival has fulfilled its original intent – attracting residents and visitors to the City. It has also gained national recognition which has well positioned the Foundation to respond to the arts and culture needs of the future.
Thanks to the support of the City, the Festival’s volunteers, sponsors and suppliers, and the talented artists that have participated in the Festival year after year, the Foundation has helped make the dream for the City to become the “cultural and artistic center of the Coachella Valley” a reality – then, now and for many years to come.
Meanwhile, the Foundation is excited about the new opportunities afforded by the City’s vision for the Village buildout. Recently the City requested that the Foundation consider becoming a cultural partner with it in an NEA grant application to revitalize and activate arts experiences on the properties adjacent to La Quinta Museum. The Foundation is looking forward to working with the City on this and other prospective arts and culture initiatives.