Highlighted in New Exhibit at the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum

PALM SPRINGS, CA – October 2006: “Preserving the Spirit of Rock Art,” a new exhibition featuring petroglyphs and pictographs in Cahuilla territory, opens at the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum on November 8. Part of the exhibition will discuss the types and significance of these mysterious symbols and features some of the sites open to the public in our area. The other half of the story is less pleasant – that of the vandalism and destruction of many sites. Learn what is happening and what is being done to preserve these important links to the past.

“Rock Art” remains one of the most compelling mysteries in our search for the history of early peoples. The painted or carved symbols are not writing, but they were created to convey information. Sometimes they were boundary markers for clan territories, sometimes trail markers to identify specific locations. Some petroglyphs and pictographs were created during the performance of sacred rituals and are a manifestation of a spiritual journey.

Unfortunately, many sites of rock art in the Coachella Valley are subjected to vandalism and destruction, forever diminishing the visible records of the cultures that created them.

The images in this exhibition will impress with their artistry, their sense of place, and the horror of the damage many have suffered. These images, however, cannot match the sense of the past when standing among the rocks, or surrounded by the sands of the desert or the trees of the mountain forest. The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum encourages the public to visit local sites that are open to the public.

Rock art is found in all areas of the world. In spite of this wide distribution, it is nonetheless a fragile and non-renewable component of the cultural heritage of indigenous peoples. Public awareness and appreciation are crucial to their survival.

An opening reception to celebrate this exciting and informative new exhibit will be held beginning at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, November 8, 2006 at the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, located on the Village Green in Downtown Palm Springs at 219 South Palm Canyon Drive. Refreshments will be served. The Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Sunday from noon to 5:00 PM. Admission is free. For more information please call 760/778-1079 or visit