Have you heard about the most unique art gallery in the desert? Exhibitions include sculpture, paintings, works on paper, found objects, assemblage, and even science-related artwork. A permanent exhibition with changing artwork related to the topic is called Everyday Heroes and visitors can be found walking away with tears in their eyes in the hallways.
Where, you may ask, is this exhibition? It can be found in the Desert Sands Unified School District’s main office building, often referred to as the DEC (district education center) on Dune Palms Road in La Quinta.
Young artists from kindergarten through high school have their work on display in changing exhibitions. Most recently, the walls held paintings, oil and watercolors, created by the students at John Glenn Middle School under the direction of teacher Yolanda Jue. Yolanda believes that everyone has art in their souls and it is her job to help them discover it.
Geometry expressed as art was also a recent exhibition produced by the fourth-grade students at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School. Teacher Jennifer Hunt used the study of shapes and patterns as an art project. An example of the creativity of incorporating math and the arts.
Also from Franklin Elementary came two exhibitions created by teacher Patrice Healy. The first was the use of found objects to create self-portraits. The second remains in the gallery space and continues to cause a sensation among visitors. Trice assigned her students a project about water, what problems we are facing in today’s world regarding water. Essays were written and then she handed each student an umbrella (purchased at a local dollar store with her own funds) and had them paint and decorate the umbrellas based on their essays. Both essays and umbrellas are currently hanging in the DEC.
With the end of school comes empty gallery space as ceramics teachers from our local high schools retrieved gorgeous pieces for their students to take home. Artwork by Shadow Hills High School students will remain throughout the summer in the hallways but the other display cases are longingly waiting for the return to the potters wheel and kiln so that new pieces can be showcased in the year ahead.
Two display cases hang on the wall just beyond the front entrance. Each month two of the Desert Sands School District elementary schools take charge of a case and decorate it with their idea of Everyday Heroes. The cases have been elaborately decorated and quietly simple. But all of them have been heartwarming as students honor military, first responders, teachers, and their parents. Currently on exhibition in the hallways are displays from Amelia Earhart and Harry Truman elementary schools. The displays have been so popular among the elementary schools that the exhibitions will continue throughout June and into the next school year. Discussions continue on perhaps using a new theme for student celebration.
In the meantime, staff who work in the DEC and our guests continue to enjoy the changing art exhibitions that bring sunshine into our hallways.