One of Vicki Buchanan’s pots. Photo courtesy Vicki Buchanan
One of Vicki Buchanan’s pots.
Photo courtesy Vicki Buchanan

The Desert Art Center, a nonprofit cooperative art gallery, has 138 juried artists displaying numerous works of art in a spacious 2,000-square-foot gallery. Located in Palm Springs, the DAC is closed in summer but recently reopened to a redecorated gallery and a colorful new show. It’s one hour to Palm Springs from Idyllwild.

From 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, the DAC gallery will host an opening reception to honor the artists and their work. It promises to be a lively evening with everyone enjoying refreshments and music while entering the unique and exquisite world of paintings, sculpture, pottery, jewelry, art glass, photography and mixed media. The artists are from the desert, mountains and surrounding areas. The spectrum of art is everything from representational to mid-century modern.

Banning resident Vicki Buchanan joined DAC four years ago. She became interested in ceramics while living in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s where she met her husband Max when they were both working for the Corp of Army Engineers. When the couple returned to the states, they bought a 20-acre farm in Banning near the foothills, and Vicki began raku classes at Mt. San Jacinto College. Max built her a raku kiln to fire her beautiful pots.

Vicki loves the tactile feeling of working with clay. “It is a whole process to prepare the wet clay to get the right consistency or alignment of the molecules before it can go on the wheel,” she said. Her pieces are inspired by the smallest details of nature. Recently she saw a gigantic worm with intricate feet and body patterns on her tomato plants. She will infuse the worm design on a pot. She burnishes her final products to give them the earthy appearance of granite.

Vicki also teaches clay classes at DAC to sixth through eighth graders from the Palms Springs Unified School District. “This is the first time I have ever taught. It’s really fun. The kids love the class and just soak it up,” she said. The DAC Middle School Art Program is funded by a grant from Anderson Children’s Foundation and classes are free.

DAC offers free monthly programs as a sharing of art with the community. Starting at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, four watercolor artists will paint the same subject in a one-hour challenge. The audience will be able to move around and observe the painters at work. An emcee will ask questions of the artists during the event. At the end of the hour, the paintings will be displayed on easels and offered for sale to the highest bidder during socializing and refreshments. All proceeds go to the DAC Education Fund.

A general meeting will be held at 3 p.m. before the challenge. Whether interested in becoming a regular/ supporting member or a juried artist, you are invited to the meeting to ask questions, meet members and find out what DAC is all about.

DAC, 550 North Palm Canyon Drive in uptown Palm Springs, is part of the historic complex in Frances Stevens Park and has been in existence since 1950. The actual gallery site was the first grammar school in the area. The Colonial Spanish architecture with views of the park, palms and mountains lends an aura of history and beauty to the whole art experience.

The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and staffed by DAC members who volunteer one day a month to be gallery greeters. For a list of classes, events and more about the artists and their artwork, visit or call 760-323-7973.

Now that the desert is cooling down, it might be fun to visit uptown Palm Springs that has resurfaced as a chic place with many galleries, mid-century modern stores, trendy gift shops and restaurants. The fall is a beautiful time to visit the desert.