Free, two-day event brings visual artists, musical performances, art demonstrations, and local restaurants to Rancho Mirage Community Park.
The Rancho Mirage Festival of the Arts, formerly Rancho Mirage Art Affaire, will take place Nov. 5-6, 2022, at Rancho Mirage Community Park. To mark the 20th anniversary, the event has been redesigned to be fresh, fun, and sophisticated, showcasing a handpicked group of 30 artists representing the genres of glass, ceramics, textiles, photography, painting, sculpture, and digital. Expect new work from some of the Coachella Valley’s favorite creatives, along with up-and-coming faces from Southern California, Texas, and the Pacific Northwest.
“We looked for people who demonstrated exceptional quality and weren’t on the festival circuit,” says Art Curator Bill Schinsky. “Their art speaks to what’s happening in Rancho Mirage and the Coachella Valley overall. Things are changing, and this Festival mirrors the city’s transition and growth.”
Founded in 2000, the Festival of the Arts suspended operations in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. The organizers — Schinsky, along with the Rancho Mirage Marketing Department and the Parks and Trails Commission — put the time to good use, designing a boutique festival that blends artistic experimentation with exceptional craftsmanship.
“It’s one of Rancho Mirage’s most-loved community gatherings, signaling the opening of the Coachella Valley’s art festival season,” says Mayor Charles Townsend. “This year we wanted to show more support to artists, so the city is waiving booth and entry fees, and will not take a percentage of any artworks sold. We want artists to feel free to try out new ideas and show how their work has evolved.”
Two local innovators, Kim Manfredi and Tim Shockley, are the 2022 Featured Artists. A dedicated long-distance cyclist, Manfredi’s large-scale abstract paintings draw inspiration from desert landscapes glimpsed while riding at a swift pace. Juxtaposing rich, vibrant color against misty pastels, the paintings convey the rush and pleasing disorientation of forward movement. Manfredi significantly changed her painting style during the shutdown, incorporating the transformative act of journeying into her process.
“The thrill of taking risks makes space for trying new things, stretching the imagination and discovering unknown capabilities,” Manfredi says. “A new color or brush can change everything.”
Shockley attributes his creative exploration to growing up in the Coachella Valley before shopping malls, cell phones, and computers — a time when “there wasn’t a lot to do,” he says.
“You were forced to be an individual because you weren’t inundated with other things. That’s why my art is a little different. I had to find my own path,” Shockley says.
He’ll be bringing selections from his “Taming the Wild West” series, organic shapes of tumbleweeds woven from gold plate and barbed wire, appearing simultaneously fragile and fossilized. He’ll complement the tumbleweeds with his eclectic range of paintings and sculpture, designing his installation on the spot.
Interviews with Manfredi and Shockley can be arranged by contacting Hayley Tice, Rancho Mirage Marketing and Events Specialist, hayleyt@RanchoMirageCA.gov or 760-324-4511, ext. 228.
Kim Manfredi can also be reached directly at email@example.com, (443) 286-5343, or kimmanfredi.com. Tim Shockley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 949.463.0722, or timschockley.com.
Additional artists to watch for include sculptor Weston Lambert from Tacoma, WA (westonlambert.com); glass artist Cedric Major Mitchell from Los Angeles (cedricmitchelldesign.com); and Rancho Mirage-based painter Mandy Main (mandymainstudios.com).
Live demonstrations and events will include drawing and glassblowing. A complete list of artists will be announced in mid-October.
In the center of the festival lawn, colorful banners announce Cenare, Italian for “to dine,” a cheery, open-air dining spot where communal tables invite visitors to mingle with friends while savoring treats and libations. Drop in on a wine tasting with the Rancho Mirage Rotary, order an art-inspired cocktail from LULU California Bistro, or sip a craft beer from Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse. Sample some of Rancho Mirage’s most popular restaurants such as Haus of Poké, Wally’s Desert Turtle, and the city’s newest addition, the anime-inspired Dragon Lili Boba Bar.
Musical exploration has always been a highlight of the weekend. Relax with daytime melodies on the Center Court Stage, including local legends The Barry Baughn Blues Band, The Zippers, and blues/fusion singer Deanna Bogart. Stan Watkins and Brujeria (Spanish for “witchcraft”) bring tropical rhythms of salsa, merengue, calypso, and boogaloo; and DJ Bob Scatchell will keep the beats popping.
Music continues on Saturday night with Jazz Under the Stars at the adjacent Rancho Mirage Amphitheater, beginning with the Los Angeles-based Goodfellas Jazz Band and flowing into the Amanda Castro Band, known for reinterpreting contemporary music in a high-energy vintage style. Jazz Under the Stars is produced by Desert Theatricals.
The City of Rancho Mirage is pleased to offer free admission to the Festival of the Arts, Center Court Stage, and Jazz Under the Stars, as well as free valet parking. It’s a full day of inspiration where guests can learn the stories behind the art, see creations unfold, perhaps commission a piece for their own collection, and soak up the desert’s season of reawakening.
— SCHEDULE —
Saturday, Nov. 5
Festival opens including artist booths, live drawing, glassblowing, Cenare dining area, and musical performances on Center Court Stage.
Amphitheater gates open for Jazz Under the Stars. Goodfellas Jazz Band takes the stage. Food and drinks available from LULU California Bistro.
Artist booths, Cenare, and Center Court Stage close.
Amanda Castro Band takes the amphitheater stage.
Jazz Under the Stars ends.
Sunday, Nov. 6
Festival opens, including artist booths, live drawing, glassblowing, Cenare dining area, and musical performances on Center Court Stage.
— ADDRESS —
Rancho Mirage Community Park
71560 San Jacinto Drive
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
— CONTACT INFO —
(760) 324-4511 ext. 228
— LINKS —
City of Rancho Mirage Youtube Channel:
Video interview with Kim Manfredi: https://is.gd/iridas
Video interview with Tim Shockley: https://is.gd/eyojec
— ABOUT RANCHO MIRAGE —
Rancho Mirage, population 18,000, is equidistant between Palm Springs and Indio, located in the heart of the Coachella Valley and the ancestral home of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. Long known as “the Playground of the Presidents,” the city envelops visitors and residents in a distinctive personality: Inspiring, cultured, and warm. From the award-winning library and observatory to the rich history of Sunnylands, where Walter and Leonore Annenberg convened world leaders in dialogue, Rancho Mirage is a place to seek enriching experiences amid desert beauty.
- Lucille Ball was the first Honorary Mayor of Rancho Mirage, serving from 1958 to 1965 and from 1971 to 1973, when the city became incorporated.
- In 1967, the city’s first elementary school used an “open learning environment” in which children could learn at their own pace — a radical concept at the time.
- The Rancho Mirage emblem is a stylized Peninsular bighorn sheep, signifying actions the city takes to protect this endangered species.