Although it is mostly known as a residential community, Indian Wells is rich in art and cultural offerings.
For example, the state-of-the-art McCallum Theatre for the Performing Arts in nearby Palm Desert spotlights artists, performers and theater and dance companies from across the globe. The 1,125-seat theater is also the performance venue for the Indian Wells Desert Symphony.
Another popular attraction is the Desert Town Hall of Indian Wells, which since 1993 has brought some of the top international speakers to the community. Supported by sponsors, foundations and ticket sales, the program has featured in recent years Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhahu, John Walsh, President George Bush, Senator Bob Dole, Margaret Thatcher, Vice President Dick Cheney, General Norman Schwarzkopf and General Colin Powell.
A popular outdoor event is The Indian Wells Arts Festival, held annually at the end of March through early April. This event draws 200 artists and more than 90,000 visitors. Activities include glass blowing, rock sculpting, painting and weaving demonstrations, and special exhibits as well as children’s activities, wine tasting, musical entertainment and refreshments.
The festival is also home to the Indian Wells Chamber of Commerce Chef Masterpiece. This popular annual event showcases the signature dishes and culinary delights includes Indian Wells top chefs surrounded by the natural beauty of the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens and the artistic works of renowned artists.
Another popular arts and entertainment event is the Palm Springs International Film Festival, of which the City of Indian Wells has been a Presenting Sponsor, supporting the festival through its Cultural and Promotional Activities grant process. One of the largest film festivals in the country, attracting an audience of more than 90,000, the festival each January presents more than 200 films from some 60 countries. The festival’s annual Awards Gala acknowledges those in the entertainment industry with honors for acting, directing, achievement in film scoring and life achievement. Honorees of recent years have included Shirley MacLaine, Sidney Pollack, Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet.
As a Presenting Sponsor, Indian Wells has presented six selections for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, a special presentation known as the Indian Wells Series. Free screenings have also been held for residents at the Indian Wells Theater at Cal State University, San Bernardino-Palm Desert Campus.
There are numerous arts and entertainment venues a short drive from Indian Wells. For example, the Palm Springs Art Museum is an educational institution spotlighting art, natural science and performing arts through collections, exhibitions and programs. Founded in 1938, the museum’s permanent art collection highlights 19th, 20th and 21st century works examining contemporary California, classic western American, Native American and Pre-Columbian art. The museum’s Natural Science department offers biology and archaeology field trips and exhibitions. The museum also has a theater and offers science and art classes, hikes, lectures and other special events. Indian Wells residents have received free tickets to city-sponsored special exhibitions at the museum.