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California Palm Spr ings Art Appreciation Top, Mark Davidson; bottom: The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnyl ands By Barbara Beckley “I love it!” I can’t help exclaiming out loud at Little Blue Steam Engines, an oil on canvas by internationally known California artist Linda Herzog. Her fanciful engine, which balances two steaming cups of tea and is accompanied by three goldfish swimming near the cog, makes me grin from ear to ear. So does the 14.5-inch-tall raku ceramic Old Spice Bottle likeness by Karen Shapiro, another well- known California artist. Nearby, a lady who obviously shares my taste in art exclaims to her husband, “Look at that lipstick!” She points to the shiny coral color of Shapiro’s raku Clinique Lipstick. The paintings, photographs, sculptures, glass pieces and ceramic works, by more than 100 domestic and international artists, at Coda Gallery (codagallery.com) in Palm Desert’s famous El Paseo Shopping District are proof that fine art can be fun as well as collectible. “We’re a joyful art gallery—we don’t do angst,” gallery director Samuel Heaton tells me. He further explains that Coda displays only contemporary art, mostly by artists still living. “Clients buy because they genuinely The Coda Gallery showcases contemporary art by U.S. and international artists. feel connected to the pieces,” he says. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Coda is the longest-operating art gallery on El Paseo—a street known for fine-art galleries, acclaimed boutiques and stylish restaurants such as the Cafe des Beaux-Arts. Exploring the 9,000-square-foot gallery is like visiting an art museum. Natural light floods in from a glass-walled rotunda. I sit on a bench and wonder how Michigan artist Mark Lewanski creates his unusual works—strips of glass finely woven together like cloth. But it’s the whimsical 2-foot-long green glass Alligator Bowl, by internationally renowned German Glasstudio Borowski, that wins my heart. The gator’s wide mouth (which creates the bowl), smiling yellow eyes, pudgy clear-glass feet, and saucy little tail adorned with cute pointy yellow scales are adorable. I look at this piece every time I visit the gallery. Maybe I’ll gift it to myself. More Favorites Yoga at the Sunnylands Center & Gardens. Free Yoga on the Great Lawn at the Sunnylands Center & Gardens (sunnylands.org): Exercise where the rich and powerful—including President Barack Obama, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Queen Elizabeth II—have attended meetings. The center offers a one-hour yoga or yoga-Pilates class on Fridays through April. No reserva- tions needed. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens (livingdesert.org): I’m always fascinated by the wildlife ranging from leopards, giraffes and zebras to exotic sand cats (which are slightly smaller than domestic cats, and which have a loud bark). The popular attraction also has beautiful desert botanical gardens, and regularly hosts events, including Brew at the Zoo, April 1, with beer-tasting, food from top Coachella Valley restaurants and caterers, and live music. Palm Springs Modern Tours (palmspringsmoderntours.com): See the best of Palm Springs’ Mid-Century Modern architecture with owner/guide Robert Imber, a founding member of Palm Springs Modern Committee. Vintage Shopping: Complementing El Paseo Shopping District’s traditional shops—such as the Cactus Flower Shoe Salon, Wayne’s Collection womenswear, Escada and Louis Vuitton—are Palm Springs–area vintage shops that are among my insider favorites. The list includes Dazzles for jewelry and The Frippery for 1950s to ’70s apparel, both in Palm M arch 2017 A l a sk a B e yon d 157 ABM 03.17 CA_7 Palm Springs.indd 157 2/16/17 11:32 AM