Palm Springs Spotlight: Modernism Week Announces Local Contributions

13734872_10208231249113619_1079858653182219807_oYou’ve heard of Modernism Week. You’ve probably even attended a grand event or two. But did you know that this annual festival also gives back on a grand scale? Modernism Week recently announced that it contributed significant funds to local Coachella Valley neighborhood organizations, local and statewide preservation organizations, and awarded two new scholarships for aspiring architectural students.

An 11-day festival celebrating midcentury modern design, architecture, art, fashion and culture in the greater Palm Springs area, Modernism Week is hugely popular with architects, designers, collectors, and modernism aficionados from around the world. During its signature annual February event in 2016, more than 77,500 visitors attended Modernism Week’s 250 events (including home, garden and bus tours, films, lectures, fundraising receptions, and more). The festival’s 2016 economic impact on the area was estimated at $28.6 million (which is revenue generated at hotels, shops, restaurants, and other local businesses from Palm Springs to Indian Wells and beyond).

DAL_2324-PD-1In addition to promoting Palm Springs and its rich midcentury modern architectural heritage, Modernism Week also functions as a charitable organization that enables local neighborhoods and non-profit organizations to raise funds. More than $1 million of the overall Modernism Week proceeds generated by ticket sales from 2016 events went directly back to community neighborhoods and partner organizations, a new record for Modernism Week. This was an estimated 15% increase over the amount generated for these organizations last year.

Modernism Week works closely with local neighborhood organizations to showcase tours of iconic Palm Springs residences. These tours raise significant funds for each of the neighborhood organizations. In 2016 revenue generated for neighborhood organizations enabled the neighborhoods to fund various community improvement projects, such as restoration, landscaping, signage and more. In addition, $77,000 was directly donated to local non-profit and civic organizations, including: Palm Springs Animal Shelter, Neuro Vitality Center, Palm Springs Fire Department, AIDS Assistance Program, Digicom, the Palm Springs Police department’s K9 fund, Palm Springs Unified School District Foundation Scholarship Program, Well In The Desert, Meals on Wheels, FIND Food Bank, the Build A Bike program, Vista Del Monte Elementary School, Safe Schools Desert Cities, Sanctuary Palm Springs, Palm Springs Presbyterian Church, Cahuilla Elementary School, Tahquitz Creek Yacht Club, Alzheimer’s Association (Palm Springs Chapter) and the City of Palm Springs Fire Department Training Facility.

Bus 04_DSC_0515_David A LeeAlong with its neighborhood support, Modernism Week awards substantial grants to local and state preservation organizations for their efforts to preserve and promote modernist architecture throughout the community and the state of California. Beneficiaries of ticket proceeds in 2016 received funds in excess of $800,000. These organizations included Palm Springs Art Museum’s Architecture and Design Center, Palm Springs Preservation Foundation, Palm Springs Modern Committee, Palm Springs Historical Society, The Aluminaire Foundation, Mizell Senior Center, as well as national and state entities including Docomomo-US, and California Preservation Foundation.

“Giving back to the community is one of the most important aspects of Modernism Week,” said Lisa Vossler Smith, Executive Director. “Our Board of Directors is committed to partnering with community organizations to provide the opportunity to generate revenue through event ticket sales, and we are especially thrilled to award two scholarships to deserving students. These are just a few of the many ways that Modernism Week contributes to the local community.”

Home Tour 05_DSC_8353_By David A LeeModernism Week provides annual renewable 4-year scholarships to local Coachella Valley students who have chosen educational paths in the fields of architecture and design. Two scholarships, totaling $10,000, were awarded to deserving students in 2016, which includes matching funds from Coachella Valley Economic Partnership’s program, Pathways to Success. The first scholarship was awarded to Carlos Blanco, a graduate of Shadow Hills High School in Indio, CA, who has been attending the College of the Desert and will go to UC Berkeley next year to major in Architecture. The second scholarship was awarded to Zemira Voorhies, a Desert Hot Springs High School graduate, who has been accepted to Cal State Chico, where she plans to major in Interior Architecture. Since the Modernism Week renewable 4-year scholarship program was initiated in 2011, a total of $83,000 has been awarded.

About Modernism Week:

Modernism Week is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization, providing scholarships to local Palm Springs students pursuing college educations in the fields of architecture and design; as well as giving grants to local and state organizations for their efforts to preserve modernist architecture throughout the state of California.

About David J Castello

David J Castello is the Editor-in-Chief and Chief Operating Officer for the Castello Cities Internet Network (,,, etc). His debut novel, The Diary of an Immortal (1945-1959) was published in 2016.

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