Executive Director Lisa Vossler Smith sat with the Coachella Valley Independent to share about all things Modernism Week 2021. Read on for an excerpt from her conversation.
Every February, Palm Springs is overrun with fans of all things midcentury modern—going on house tours, enjoying modernism-themed parties and shopping at the Modernism Show and Sale.
That is, every February but this one.
“Our 2020 Modernism Week in February was our biggest one ever,” said Lisa Vossler Smith, the executive director of Modernism Week. “It had 162,000 attendees, and it was our 15th anniversary. We really had an incredible, over-the-top experience. It was kind of the last party of the year, because a few weeks after that, everything changed.”
Unfortunately, the world is still quite changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic—and as a result, Modernism Week has been delayed until April 8-18. However, Smith and her Modernism Week colleagues still wanted to make their presence felt in February, so they’re taking things online, with virtual events throughout the month, including talks with authors and architects, films and virtual house tours.
“Nothing’s a replacement for a live experience, but at least it can help to provide an online experience similar to the things that you see when you come to Modernism Week,” Smith said. “The programs that we’re working on are things that our repeat visitors would enjoy, as well as new faces who may never have the chance to come to Palm Springs.”
Smith said she sees a silver lining in the February Modernism Week “Online Experience.” Tickets for all of the events will go on sale Feb. 1.
“We have wanted to expand into some online lectures and programs—more educational-based things,” Smith said. “We didn’t really (previously) consider the option to create tours, but with the pandemic, and wanting to be able to enhance the virtual experience, we quickly realized that getting to view a special location is, in the end, much more engaging than just looking at photographs of architecture. It’s helping us start a library of online content that, in the long term, we’ll be able to continue sharing with the public.”