* The new $5.6 million visual arts building at the College of the Desert in Palm Desert.DAN CHAVKIN

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We are so honored and excited to be featured in 89.3 KPCC’s Pass/Fail write-up on the Coachella Valley’s beautiful art community.

Thank you Mary Plummer!!

If you have yet to visit College of the Desert’s new Visual Arts Building, get on down there ASAP.  It’s a true beauty!

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89.3 KPCC story on the coachella valley art scene

Coachella Valley, once known as a place to retire in the California desert, is taking on a new spirit.

The valley is attracting a younger crowd, residents and educators say, one drawn not only to the valley’s popular music festival but to its growing arts scene.

“This is no longer just a retirement community,” said Lisa Soccio, art professor at College of the Desert in Palm Desert. Soccio said she’s seen radical changes over the nine years she’s worked at the college.

“We have a lot of people in the sort of 18 to 35 age category and they’re making art for themselves, and they are developing some new forms of art — some new approaches to working with materials that you don’t see in other places, that you don’t see in Los Angeles,” Soccio said.

The arts expansion has been driven by two groups, she said: young artists who grew up in the area and more established artists who are choosing Coachella Valley as a home base.

Sarah Scheideman, at 30 a young but major influence in the area’s art happenings, recently opened a gallery in Cathedral City and runs the popular blog The Coachella Valley Art Scene.

“Three of these last artists that we featured, they all grew up in the Coachella Valley,” Scheideman said. “They went to Otis school of art, and then they recently returned because they saw more opportunity out here to get involved in the art community.”

A symbol of the change underway may be the community college’s new $5.6 million visual arts building that opened to students this fall. School leaders saw a growing need for arts education among the 10,000-plus students who depend on the college as a resource. Educators say many of the students didn’t get arts instruction at the K-12 level.

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