Old Town Artisan Studio Golden Circle Gratitude Reception

Marge Dodge, Special to The Desert Sun

(Photo: Marc Glassman/Special to The Desert Sun)

Nestled in the foothills of the Santa Rosa Mountains, the clubhouse of the Tradition Golf Club was the perfect setting for the Old Town Artisan Studio Golden Circle Gratitude Reception. The clubhouse was designed to complement the original home on the property, the Hacienda del Gato built in 1920 and designed by Gordon Kaufmann who later designed La Quinta Resort.

The event, created to show appreciation for major donors to Old Town Artisan Studios, was hosted by supporters Fran and Bob Davidson. Guests were greeted by artist Dusty Kinman creating a desert scape painting as they entered the reception. The artist specializes in painting deserts in the springtime, and is now producing golf art as he recently became a golfer. He paints with painting knives, not brushes, using oil paint on linen canvas.

Guests, including Lynda and Phil Skutt, Hildy Navratil, Karen and Tony Barone, Barbara Waddell, Sherry and John Pena, Judy and Bob Sanders, Donna MacMillan and Craig Zenkei Courtright, enjoyed waves of delectable passed hors d’oeuvres and lemon drop martinis served around an amazing ice sculpture. Soft guitar music by Rafa filled the air as guests moved easily between the indoors and the outdoor patio despite the cool temperature and threatening sky.

Development director Diana Marlo Noll welcomed supporters and introduced organization founder Victory Grund. She thanked donors for “helping us increase our ability to offer certified art instruction to children, seniors, special needs and families now totaling over 8,000 art experiences a year in our studio and our mobile art program.”

Volunteer of the Year Nancy Haugen. (Photo: Marc Glassman/Special to The Desert Sun)

Grund also acknowledged the board of directors, staff members Stefania Ford, Stephen Mangione and Brittany North, and husband Richard Grund. She awarded the Alan Newman award to Fran and Bob Davidson for their exceptional backing of the organization and their belief in the vision of providing an art experience to all. The volunteer of the year award was presented to Nancy Haugen for her dedication and service.

Grund thanked contributors for supporting her vision of the soon-to-be opened Art Park and acknowledged her husband for managing the restoration. The three-acre property, the former Cunard Estate built in the 1930s (which later became the La Quinta Grill and The Homestead restaurants) will soon be undergoing renovations.

When complete, it will provide a warm and inviting place for people of all ages to reveal their creativity through clay, fused glass, painting and other artistic mediums. Grund invited supporters to make the short drive to the Art Park for a tour of the facility and said, “The patio and grounds are perfect for plein air art, soft music and recitals, weddings, and art in many mediums. There is space for all outdoor and indoor interactive art features for all ages and abilities.” Volunteers at the Art Park greeted guests and conducted tours of the home that will embrace all art, for all.

For more information call 760-777-1444 or visit oldtownartisanstudio.org.

Old Town Artisan Studio Capital Campaign Event

BY: Marge Dodge, Special to The Desert Sun

(Photo: Mac Glassman/Special to The Desert Sun)

Old Town Artisan Studio has a new home for the Art Park of the Desert, a creative arts campus for all generations.

Supporters were invited for a first look at the property and to kick-off the capital campaign to fulfill their dream of a debt free future. When construction estimates for the previously planned Art Park almost doubled from the anticipated costs, the organization’s founder Victory Grund looked for alternatives. The solution was found in the former Cunard Estate built in the 1930s that later became the La Quinta Grill and The Homestead restaurants.

The three-acre property will undergo renovations to provide a warm and inviting place for people of all ages to reveal their creativity through clay, fused glass, painting and other artistic mediums. Grund said, “The patio and grounds are perfect for plein air art, soft music and recitals, weddings, and art in many mediums. There is space for all outdoor and indoor interactive art features for all ages and abilities.”

Guests explored the many nooks and crannies of the property and observed demonstrations of lamp working, wet clay, bisque and painting while munching on savory and sweet treats from Desert Cities Catering. The chocolate fondue station was especially popular. Some guests relaxed and chatted around the outdoor fire pit while enjoying familiar tunes played on the piano by Mark Ranck.

Richard Grund shared the history of the land with the crowd and Matt Johnson expounded on Victory’s vision of the Art Park, the financial requirements to achieve success, and the ability of the Park to be self-sustaining with income from three office buildings on the property once the debt is retired. Victory Grund thanked all the volunteers, especially her first instructor KayHenkel, and staff members Stefania Ford and Stephen Mangione were recognized. Lynda and Phil Skutt were acknowledged for donating all new kilns and potter wheels, and Sherry Pena of Desert Cities Catering was applauded for her donation of $50,000 in catering over the next five years. Heather Langley was praised for her creation of the metal Legacy Tree where the capital campaign donor’s names will remain forever.

Development director Diana Marlo Noll closed the short program by expressing her gratitude for her friendship to visionary Grund and seeing the dream of an Art Park realized.

Old Town Artisan Studio Reception

Marge Dodge, Special to The Desert Sun

(Photo: Robert Marcos Studios)

The big surprise of the evening came when Richard Grund presented an original Picasso ceramic plate titled Bouquet a la Pomme to his wife and founder of the Old Town Artisan Studio, Victory Grund. The delightful surprise was just part of a charming evening at HeatherJames Fine Art Gallery cocktail reception to announce plans for Old Town Artisan Studio Art Park of the Desert.

Plans for the interactive art park, designed by John Vuksic, revealed a beautiful park setting where everyone can view and experience art, and participate in an interactive environment. The park will include artist studios, a stage for performance art, a chalk art section, graffiti wall, storytelling mound and creative spaces for people of all ages and abilities.

Grund thanked the HeatherJames gallery for hosting the event featuring the works of Pablo Picasso and Alexander Calder, and acknowledged executive director Linda Baughman and staff Stefania Ford, Colby Cramer, Alison Hunt Ballard and Brittany North. She then presented a striking ceramic pot created by Cramer to gallery sales manager Montana Beutler.

Mayor of La Quinta Linda Evans said, “We are 100% behind the Art Park of the Desert. It has great potential to host any number of community events.”

For more information on programs, classes and events call 760-777-1444 or visit www.oldtownartisanstudio.org.

Old Town Artisan Studio’s Gratitude Reception

Marge Dodge, Special to The Desert

(Photo: Lani Garfield/Special to The Desert Sun)

Members of the Old Town Artisan Studio Golden Circle met for a fundraiser in the stunning, art-filled home of Donna MacMillan, amazed by her eclectic and whimsical contemporary art collection, and by her massive collection of Dale Chihuly glass.
The guests were all aficionados of art as demonstrated by their contributions to the Old Town Artisan Studio which provides hands-on art experience for people despite age, disability or financial disadvantage.
Victory Grund,  founder of Old Town Artisan Studio, said “We partner with local schools and other non-profits to provide free or reduced-fee classes” and thanked them for having made the studio’s dream of a clay and glass studio and mobile van come true. She also thanked her “Man of La Mancha” husband Richard Grund for making all her dreams come true.

Grund’s next dream is for an indoor/outdoor interactive Art Park as designed by  architect John Vuksic, and she thanked executive director Linda Baughman for her role in working with the City o f La Quinta to make it happen.  Art director Stephania Ford and instructor Colby Cramer were also thanked for their dedication. Seen applauding the architect’s design were guests Karen and Tony Barone, La Quinta mayor pro tem Ted Pena, Barbara Waddell, and Judy and Bob Sanders.

The volunteer of the year award was presented to Charlotte Champerlin who creates delightful clay houses and volunteers numerous hours in the studio. Barbara Rogers received the Alan Newman gift award for her support of the studio mission in decorating past galas and organizing silent auctions.

La Quinta mayor Linda Evans said, “The Old Town Artisan Studio Art Park will be an art destination and will also be a catalyst for more art — a wonderful asset to La Quinta.”

Grund closed the evening by thanking everyone for their “willingness to go far together”  in helping her realize her dream of an interactive Art Park.
For more information call 760-777-1444 or visit www.oldtownartisanstudio.org