Located in the heart of downtown Palm Springs, the Palm Springs Art Museum features an extensive collection in its 28 galleries. The museum has an art collection that rivals urban metropolitan museums, and includes works from Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Donald Judd, Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, Robert Rauschenberg, Antony Gormley and Ansel Adams. Spread over the 150,000 square feet, the museum boasts major collections of modern and contemporary art, glass, photography, architecture and design and Native American and Western art. The museum also offers a café and gift shop.
Palm Springs Art Museum was founded in 1938 as the Palm Springs Desert Museum, specializing in Native American artifacts, the natural sciences, and the environment of the surrounding Coachella Valley (original site was in La Plaza, pictured at left, circa 1938).
The museum moved several times within the downtown Palm Springs area before building its first permanent structure in 1958, located on the southwest corner of Tahquitz-McCallum Way and Indian Ave. To add to the appeal of the museum, galleries located upstairs in the new building were designed to exhibit fine art. In 1963, the museum held its first concert. These new ideas were the seedlings of the Palm Springs Art Museum we know today.
The 1960s were a busy time for the museum. Executive Director Frederick Sleight arrived on the scene in 1965 with a vision of making the museum the prime cultural center of the desert. Alice Sleight founded the docent program that same year. As programming grew, so did attendance. By the late 60's it was evident the 10,000 square foot building was quickly becoming too small (designed by E. Stewart Williams, the structure is pictured at right).
In 1974, architect E. Stewart Williams was commissioned to design the current building for the museum. Further growth resulted in the construction of the Doris and Walter N. Marks Administration Building and the 1996 completion of the Steve Chase Wing and the Education Center.