Like a passionate artist eager to create wonders on a new canvas, Palm Springs Art Museum enters the 21st century with renewed vigor and dynamic initiatives.
Michel Hinkle, the museum’s deputy director of advancement, has been in the enclave for 10 years. He said every role he held there focused on donor relations and fundraising – from working with members to running and opening the architecture and design center.
“I feel very fortunate to have grown and worked with many local philanthropists and donors to help move the museum forward,” Hinkle said, “especially after the closure and change in management. We came out of this with a new executive Director, Adam Lernerwho has been with us for only a year and who has a solid foundation that allows him to move our museum forward and rebuild it in a new way.”
Hinkle noted another “exciting” thing on the horizon at the Palm Springs Art Museum: the recent hiring of Luisa Heredia, responsible for education and community engagement. To this end, the current season of the museum brings the return of several educational elements.
“As a museum, of course, our mission is to provide educational experiences for all ages,” Hinkle said. “In the past, we have gone to schools and helped everyone from third graders through high school and then early learning through college. With Luisa, we are now able to present educational opportunities this season, covered weekly on our free Thursday nights, which are supported by the City of Palm Springs.”
The revival of the museum’s second free Sundays is also on the program. Hinkle noted that it brings families into the museum. For example, third-grade students come with their families for a “class lesson.”
“It’s a little different from what we did before, and removing the admission fee hurdle brings people in.” Hinkle added.
Other programs offer children the opportunity to participate in a quasi-treasure hunt, where they search for unique works of art while referring to a guide.
Recently, the Palm Springs Art Museum received a grant from Inland Empire Community Foundationn through the Fund advised by Sheffer/Schefler. The grant will contribute to the annual Museum Matching Gift Challenge, which supports the annual operations of the fund and the museum.
“What he does is help us move the institution forward,” Hinkle said. “And as we truly enter the 21st century, we strive to look to the future. The Matching Gift Challenge specifically helps us fulfill our mission to be a welcoming space that embraces all cultures through our programs, exhibits and experiences that cater to all the diverse interests and backgrounds of our community.”
He added that the local community is a key part of this support and the matching gift challenge.
“Museums are asking for support for different areas – galleries and exhibitions, educational programs,” Hinkle said. “The Matching Gift Challenge provides support in all of these areas. It also allows members of our museum and all members of our community to participate in supporting the museum, as our trustees and select donors have sponsored this challenge.”
Additionally, recent funds have been matched dollar for dollar, reinforcing the museum’s commitment to creating consistency and generating excitement.
“We get people giving a gift of $5 and up,” Hinkle said, “but it’s like they’re really participating in a bigger museum community.”
Overall, as the museum heads into 2023 and beyond, Hinkle said the organization is committed to honoring its past philanthropic legacy.
“We were established in 1938, so we have a real history here,” he said. “And we will honor and celebrate that evolution. We work to create experiences and opportunities that reflect our heritage, our longtime members and donors, and our community. But we also recognize the younger generation and those new energies that arrive in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley.
“That didn’t exist a few years ago,” he added. “We’re really becoming a museum open to that and with the addition of Adam, it really reinforces a new vision.”
Learn more about the Palm Springs Museum of Art at psmuseum.org.
Inland Empire Community Foundation strives to strengthen the Southern California interior through philanthropy. Visit iegives.org for more information.