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Desert Divine: Southwest Arts Festival

Hundreds of artists, and thousands of fans, converge in Indio.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Southwest Arts Festival
    Hundreds of artists, and thousands of fans, converge in Indio over the final weekend of January 2016.

    YOU CAN WAIT FOR SPRING, even imploring it to arrive faster by saying "c'mon, c'mon" over and over, but try as you might -- or try as anyone might -- the lovely days of open-air extravaganzas are still a few months away. There is an asterisk to this rule, and it involves a destination that doesn't need to wait for springtime, or summer, to get the alfresco fun going. It is the desert, of course, a place which enjoys balmy days -- even days into the upper 80s, temperature-wise -- even in the winter. True, nighttimes can take on a chill, but if you're planning an art spectacular, one that will gather together hundreds of artists and thousands of buyers and fans, you don't need to plan any evening hours. It's a recipe that's worked for the Southwest Arts Festival for three decades now, and one of the winter's most prestigious stroll-and-admire art parties is about to mark its big 30th at Empire Polo Club in Indio. The dates are...

    JAN. 29 THROUGH 31, 2016, and people visiting Palm Springs and the surrounding cities for the weekend may pop by the fest for an hour or two, just to take it all in (or even purchase a painting or striking photograph). Some 270 artists displayed their artworks in 2015, so if you're going to call upon the fest, make sure you have a few hours to spare. There's a lot of looking, and some occasional chatting with the creators on hand, and the revisiting of favorite pieces. Cost to get in? It's ten bucks. The surprise at finding a new artist to follow? That's the fun of it, though if you want a peek at who'll be there, and an example of what they make, there is a comprehensive artist listing on the Southwest Arts Festival site. Tempting to scroll through, but if you want to wander in fresh, the better to enjoy some warm winter sunshine and some unknown-to-you photographers and sculptors and painters, then scroll not. Or do. We can't decide: Surprise and foreknowledge are both good. So is an open-air arts fest, in the winter, one that's reigned big in the art community, in California and further afield, for 30 years.