Gallery 500 Attracts Visitors and Supports Local Artists
There's no shortage of great art galleries in Palm Springs, but if you want to check out one that's a bit off the beaten path, and that also has an altruistic purpose, head to Gallery 500.
Located in The Five Hundred building on South Palm Canyon, the gallery is part of a mini-complex of charming stores that includes Ristretto coffee shop and et Alia, a sundry boutique that sells an assortment of souvenirs and other items.
"When I designed the building I wanted it to be a place where employees could enjoy coming to work—one-stop shopping for whatever they needed with a coffee shop and convenience/sundry store," says the building's owner John Monahan. [And I] had this one retail space that I hadn't rented and thought it would be perfect for an art gallery."
As luck would have it, Valerio Iovino, who is the Career Building Coordinator for Desert AIDS Project (DAP), was looking for a gallery where he could showcase some of his clients' artworks. (Iovino's mission is to help people find jobs—many of them HIV+ men who have been on disability and have not worked in years.)
"The arrangement is that we give over the majority of the space to artists from DAP, then have one featured artist all the time," says Monahan. The DAP artists' exhibits will be staggered so there will be new works in the gallery every couple weeks and the featured artist will rotate out every two to three months. The total number of artists will vary depending upon what is offered by each artist, but the gallery's goal is to maintain a balance of different artistic styles.
"All of the [DAP] artists are very excited and grateful for this amazing opportunity," says Iovino. "Their confidence and overall well-being has improved tremendously. Back in August, we opened our own art studio where some of our artists can work and produce more great artwork for Gallery 500 and other galleries in town."
Captions (top to bottom): Featured artist, Simon Luckinbill, with some works from his Flea on a Hot Rock collection; artworks by Bruce Tunis, Brian Hicks, and Robby Sherwin.
Photography Courtesy of Gallery 500