Eighteen leaders—including Gay Desert Guide's Founder and e-publisher Brad Fuhr—have joined California Desert Arts Council’s new Advisory Committee to help steer policy and programming to grow and sustain the creative economy and attract cultural tourism to the Coachella Valley region, the organization announced today.

“To achieve great outcomes, you need smart, talented, and passionate people around the table,” says Christi Salamone, president and CEO of CDAC, which unifies, empowers, and promotes the arts in the Coachella Valley region. “In assembling our Advisory Committee, we sought leaders who share our passion for the desert and interest in creating opportunities to grow the arts while encouraging authentic, high-quality experiences for residents and visitors.”

CDAC proudly announces the following members of its Advisory Committee:

  • Toni Bakal, station manager/faculty adviser, KCOD 
  • Scott Burch, owner/creative director, Scott Burch Design
  • Ron Celona, founder/artistic director, CV Repertory Theatre
  • Ken Chavez, deputy director of communications and public affairs, Sunnylands Center and Gardens
  • Paul Clemente, art director Goldenvoice
  • Maggie Downs, freelance writer
  • Brad Fuhr, CEO, Oasis Marketing Group/Gay Desert Guide
  • Michael Green, executive director, Palm Springs Cultural Center
  • Barbara Gothard, artist
  • Bernard Leibov, founder/CEO, Boxo Projects and Joshua Treenial
  • Keith Markovitz, principal, TTK Represents
  • Michael Salvador, associate dean, CSUSB Palm Desert Campus
  • Tom Scaramellino, general manager, Westin Mission Hills
  • Deborah Schwartz Glickman, management analyst, City of Palm Desert
  • Patrick Sheehan, vice president, Renova Energy
  • Ann Sheffer, chair, Palm Springs Public Arts Commission
  • Lauren Skiver, CEO/general manager, Sunline Transit Agency
  • Levi Vincent, president/CEO, Greater Palm Springs Film Alliance & Film Office

CDAC recently introduced Arts Tank Greater Palm Springs, a Shark Tank-like program that provides a stimulus for new, unique, innovative, and publicly accessible arts projects that attract cultural tourism, address a concern of a particular community, and/or engage a broad cross-section of residents and visitors. This pilot program will become the foundation to attract sustaining support from stakeholders, philanthropists, and grant-giving organizations.

Earlier this month, the organization launched its Art Loan program to connect local artists with businesses and their patrons.

CDAC also offers professional development and encourages collaboration through its free arts salons in different cities and venues each month. 

In the past year, CDAC produced a full-day workshop at UCR Palm Desert in partnership with the Americans for the Arts’ National Arts Marketing Project. The event drew almost 100 participants, including arts and culture administrators, economic development directors, educators, artists, and other stakeholders in the creative economy. 

CDAC also co-produced Meet the Creatives, which drew 160 juniors and seniors from the region’s three public school districts to meet professionals and learn about careers in arts, media, and entertainment.

This year the organization is focused on brand and product development to stimulate cultural tourism, creative placemaking to revitalize communities, and aligning the workforce needs of the creative sector to secondary and post-secondary education.