University of California, Riverside

Palm Desert Center


Events and Activities at UCR Palm Desert

Join us for another fun-filled season of learning, lectures, art exhibitions and our MFA student-led book club! 

Lecture Series: 2014-2015

  • Arts and Letters Author Series
    This series invites the public to spend time with some of today's influential authors through interviews and personal readings. Conversations are facilitated by Tod Goldberg, program director, UCR Palm Desert Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts.
  • Living Green Lecture Series
    UCR Palm Desert is proud to bring a lecture series to the Coachella Valley with the purpose of educating, informing, and inspiring our community to improve our environment, health, and overall quality of life.
  • UCR Boyd Deep Canyon Lecture Series
    Take an up-close look at the natural world through these lectures, facilitated by Dr. Allan Muth, director of the Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center, University of California, Riverside. This series is a partnership between UCR Palm Desert and The Living Desert. Lectures are free and open to the public.
  • Palm Desert Art Documentary Series
    This series, presented in partnership between UCR Palm Desert and the City of Palm Desert Public Art Department, features many memorable community works from all over the globe. Free and open to the public.
  • Tuesdays with Spirit and Soul: A Film Series on Conscious Aging
    UCR Osher Lifelong Learning and UCR Palm Desert Center along with The Peacock Solution and Graceful Passages present Tuesdays With Spirit and Soul, a four-part documentary film series designed to start mindful conversations. Tuesdays With Spirit and Soul explores the concepts of empowerment, challenging cultural norms, and cultivating a more meaningful, authentic life. Each screening will be followed by a brief discussion. All UCR Palm Desert events are free and open to the public, including parking.
  • Voices of Culture Lecture Series
    6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, 2015
    Native Ecology: Presented by Ethnoecologist M. Kat Anderson, author of "Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California's Natural Resources." Dr. Anderson will present a wealth of information on native land management practices gleaned from interviews and correspondence with Native Americans who recall family stories about which plants were eaten, which were used for basketry, how areas were burned, and how plants were tended. The complex picture that emerges dispels the hunter-gatherer stereotype long perpetuated in anthropological and historical literature. Free and open to the public. RSVP here.

  • Sustainable Landscaping Workshop
    8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 18
    University of California Cooperative Extension, Riverside County, and UCR Palm Desert present this FREE workshop! Learn to keep your plants alive during a drought, ditch your grass, or swap out thirsty plants to save more water. Refreshments will be served. Speakers:
    - Janet Hartin, UC ANR Cooperative Extension environmental horticulturist and desert resident specializing in sustainable landscape research and education
    - Maureen Gilmer, horticultural photojournalist and Desert Sun columnist
    - Representatives from local water districts
    - Cameron Barrows, UCR Palm Desert research ecologist
    - UC ANR Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Riverside County will answer gardening questions.
      RSVP here. 

Art Exhibitions 

Our quarterly art exhibitions feature diverse, challenging, exciting works from artists all over the region. Each show kicks off with an opening reception, which is always free including parking!  Come to the opening receptions meet and mingle with the artists; we'll provide the food and fun!

Thursday, April 2, 2015 5:30 p.m. "Deep" & "Philosophical Investigations" opening reception 

The opening reception gives guests an opportunity to mix and mingle with the artists. This event is free and open to the public. RSVP's are required. RSVP here!

deep pix

"Deep" -- Submerge yourself in work that breaks the surface and evokes the sublime featuring photographs by Douglas McCulloh and Terry Hastings.




Townsley pic

"Philosophical Investigations" -- Navigate the human condition,transforming the dark places into light with work by Tim Townsley.  

Exhibits on display until May 1, 2015            


UCR Palm Desert Book Club

Our monthly book club meetings are free and open to every adult in the community. Genres will change every month, and there is no obligation -- just come whenever a book strikes your fancy! Meetings are facilitated by our Master of Fine Arts creative writing program students. Join us for a lively, educational chat about books in a fun, casual atmosphere.

Book club meets in room A206 at UCR Palm Desert. Parking is free. For more information including books that will be discussed, email Maggie Downs at


  • Center for Ideas and Society Lecture Series
    A lecture series brought to you by the Center for Ideas and Society, an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to advancing humanistic studies and creativity at UC Riverside. These rich and fascinating lectures illuminate the ways in which human beings create and explore a distinctly human life.
  • Feb. 17, 2015 Pre-Oscar Party! Hollywood Comes to the Desert
    At this SOLD OUT event, desert dwellers were treated to red carpet festivities without leaving the Coachella Valley. Guests viewed and discussed film clips for this year's nominees! Learned about the Academy voting process! The party also featured trivia, take-home ballots and, of course, popcorn. Speakers included film producer/development executive John Schimmel, screenwriter Joshua Malkin, and writer/critic Tod Goldberg -- all faculty from our low-residency Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts.
  • Feb. 5, 2015 Desert Dreams: Celebrating Five Seasons in the Sonoran Desert
    In partnership with with Friends of the Desert Mountains, UCR Palm Desert screened Desert Dreams, an award-winning film featuring images of the flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert set to a mix of music and natural sounds. In addition to being featured at numerous film festivals, including the Wild & Scenic Film Festival and the Sedona International Film Festival, the film sold out (1164 seats) at its big-screen debut in Tucson, Arizona in May of 2013 and sold out here at the UCR Palm Desert Center. 

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More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

UCR Palm Desert Center
75080 Frank Sinatra Drive
Palm Desert, CA 92211

Tel: (760) 834-0800
Fax: (760) 834-0796

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