Modernism Week Reports Increased Attendance and Community Economic Impact

Modernism Week, which took place from February 15-25, 2024 in the Palm Springs area of Southern California, had an estimated audience of more than 130,000 attendees who participated in more than 400 events during the 11-day festival.

Celebrating midcentury modern design, architecture, and art, the festival generated an estimated economic impact of $68 million for area hotels, shops, restaurants, and other local businesses from Palm Springs to La Quinta and beyond. In addition, CAMP, Modernism Week’s ‘Community and Meeting Place’ and headquarters for tours and events inside the Hyatt Hotel experienced more than 26,000 visitors throughout the festival. The festival offered attendees the opportunity to participate in home tours, talks, parties, and architectural bus excursions throughout the Coachella Valley. 

The Aluminaire House (Albert Frey, 1931), as seen on the Illuminated Twilight Bus Tour. Photo by Clinton Meyer

“Once again, Modernism Week continued to help brand the entire Coachella Valley as a mecca for design, preservation, modernism and architecture. Our diverse programing this year focused on many aspects of modernism and offered tours of iconic residences that had not previously been open to the public. We are very pleased that our attendees continued to learn about design, architecture, and culture regionally, nationally, and internationally. We could not do this without the support of our top sponsors, including Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Brizo, DunnEdwards Paints, JennAir, Flor, Natural Retreats, and Willis. The City of Palm Springs was once again the Civic Presenting Sponsor. Their ongoing partnership with our organization enables us to offer a compelling festival to which attendees plan to return each year.”

– William Kopelk, Modernism Week Board Chairman and co-founder
Modernism Week Opening Night Party: Disco in the Desert. Photo by David A. Lee

Modernism Week attendees came from all fifty United States and the District of Columbia, with California accounting for the majority of attendees (approximately 50%). Attendees came from 440 of 482 cities in California, or 91% of all California cities. Locally, the Coachella Valley represented 38% of tickets sold in California. In addition to many California visitors, the event was popular with attendees from Texas, Washington, New York, Illinois, and Florida. Attendees came from across the globe with twenty-four countries represented, including Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Germany, France and many more. 

Palm Springs Modernism Show. Photo by David A. Lee

The popular Palm Springs Modernism Show, which celebrated its 24th year, also saw robust attendance numbers. Nearly 15,000 people attended the popular sale at the Palm Springs Convention Center, on par with the previous year, including more than 1,300 attendees who participated in the opening night preview event that benefitted Modernism Week. The show will return to Palm Springs for Modernism Week’s October 2024 event and again in February 2025 for Modernism Week’s 20th Anniversary.

“We are proud that the Palm Springs Modernism Show continues to be one of the highlights of Modernism Week. Our dealers were extremely pleased with sales including robust sales on the opening night and throughout the four-day show.”

– Rosemary Krieger, President of Dolphin Promotions, the show’s producer for 24 years
2024 Keynote Presentation by Dr. Barry Bergdoll. Photo by David A. Lee

Modernism Week celebrates and fosters appreciation of midcentury architecture and design, as well as contemporary thinking in these fields, by encouraging education, preservation, and sustainable modern living as represented in Palm Springs and the surrounding Coachella Valley. Highlighting this dedication to education, this year more than 70 lectures and films spotlighting famed architects, landscape designers, historians, design experts and authors were presented to attendees, including the Modernism Week Keynote Presentation by Dr. Barry Bergdoll, former Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at Columbia University.

Stories Untold with Jason W. Foster, Gabrielle Bullock, Dr. Tonya Matthews, and Walter Hood. Photo by David A. Lee

Other highlights included the third annual production of the Stories Untold lecture series which focuses on the history and narratives of architects and design professionals historically left out of the spotlight. This year’s presentation at the Annenberg Theater was entitled “Stories Untold: Honoring Diverse Voices, Illuminating Untold Stories and Forging Connections with the Past Through Architecture and Landscape Design.” The distinguished speakers of the session discussed the cultural relevance and creative process behind recently opened public buildings and venues including the International African American Museum (IAAM) in Charleston, SC, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, and Destination Crenshaw in the Crenshaw community of Los Angeles, CA. Generous support for this program was provided by Room & Board.

Modernism Week’s central headquarters, CAMP (‘Community and Meeting Place’) returned to the spacious interior atrium of the Hyatt Palm Springs in the heart of downtown. Entrance into CAMP was free and open to the public every day during Modernism Week. CAMP included decorative lounges and informational booths, a shop by Modernism Week’s merchandise and branding partner Destination PSP, all day food, drinks, and specialty cocktails by Cheeky’s, book signings with notable authors, Professional Color Consultations by Dunn-Edwards, and the Modernism Week Theater at CAMP with a compelling series of talks and films. In addition, there were many interactive sponsor displays including Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting Gallery, Brizo, JennAir, Dunn-Edwards, Verizon, and FLOR. 

Modernism Week Vintage Car Show. Photo by Clinton Meyer

The festival continued to garner significant international and national media attention, generating more than 2.095 billion media impressions, up from 1.765 billion media impressions the previous year. Media coverage was reported from a wide range of media outlets. Significant media that covered the festival included AFAR Magazine, ASPIRE Online, Associated Press, Architectural Digest, Atomic Ranch, Boston Herald, Boston Magazine, Car and Driver, Condé Nast Traveler, Dirt, Dwell, Financial Times, Fodor’s Travel, Global Viewpoint, Hollywood Reporter, House Beautiful, Irish Independent, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Los Angeles Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Mpls. St. Paul Magazine, MSN Lifestyle, MSN Travel, Reuters, Robb Report, Shondaland, Star Tribune, Sunday Independent (Ireland), Sunset Magazine, The Hollywood Times, Travel & Leisure, Voice Of America News Online, USA Today, VOGUE, World News Network, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Lifestyle, and Yahoo News.

International coverage included articles in the following countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vietnam, and Zambia. The countries of Bangladesh, Czech Republic, Serbia, Tunisia, and Zambia had never carried articles about Modernism Week prior to this year.

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.