Dawson Cole Fine Art Pairs Inspiring Art With Community

At Dawson Cole Fine Art on El Paseo in Palm Desert, you'll find not only incredible fine artwork but also a strong sense of community.
Story By: Marissa Willman
"3Towering Palm Trees" by Timothy Mulligan.
"Three Towering Palm Trees" by Timothy Mulligan, courtesy Dawson Cole Fine Art

A passion for all things art is palpable at Dawson Cole Fine Art on El Paseo, where proprietors Rich and Ariane MacDonald bring a discerning selection of modern and contemporary art to the Coachella Valley’s vibrant gallery scene. One could even say art runs in their blood: Dawson Cole Fine Art is a family affair, launched by Rich’s father, sculptor Richard MacDonald, in Laguna Beach. The gallery owned expanded to El Paseo over a decade ago. Here, Ariane shares insights on the gallery and their commitment to the desert.


What sets Dawson Cole Fine Art apart?

Dawson Cole Fine Art distinguishes itself through a remarkable 30-year legacy as a family-owned business, demonstrating enduring commitment and expertise in the art world. With multiple locations, the gallery has become a nexus for showcasing both world-class and mid-career talents. The gallery’s unwavering dedication to curatorial excellence ensures a discerning selection of artworks, making it a leading destination in Southern California. Beyond its commercial success, Dawson Cole Fine Art has forged deep connections within the community, including with charitable causes. This unique blend of longevity, family values, global representation, curatorial rigor, and community engagement solidifies Dawson Cole Fine Art as a premier institution, contributing significantly to the cultural fabric over three decades.

"Louis Vuitton Doberman" by  Herb Williams

“Louis Vuitton Doberman” by Herb Williams. 

"Molucans Breeze" by Hunt Slonem

“Molucans Breeze” by Hunt Slonem. 

"Gathering of Gracies" by Richard MacDonald

“Gathering of Graces” by Richard MacDonald

When deciding who to represent, what excites you about an artist?

We get excited by artists who bring a fresh perspective, an innovative approach to their medium, creating a unique and distinctive style. An artist’s personal story or background can add depth to the work making it more engaging for collectors. In addition, receiving recognition from critics and participating in prestigious exhibitions also contribute. The highest quality, excellence, effective communication, and a collaborative spirit contribute to a long-term relationship between the artist and gallery.


What do you love most about the desert’s art scene?

We love the sophistication of the desert’s art scene, as it has many contemporary galleries and artists. The high density of quality galleries offers many diverse exhibitions and artist openings, providing a cutting-edge glimpse into today’s art market. Further, the desert community — patrons, collectors, and art enthusiasts alike — supports the arts. It is wonderful to be a part of such a vibrant art scene.

"Pink Lillies" by James Galindo.

“Pink Lillies” by James Galindo.

Rich and Ariane MacDonald

Ariane and Rich MacDonald.

You’ve supported several local charities. Can you discuss one of your recent nonprofit events?

We recently organized our fifth annual Day of the Arts event for the teenage residents of Olive Crest, which provides emergency and long-term shelter and care for abused, vulnerable, and neglected children. The goal was to cultivate awareness and appreciation for the arts. The Laguna Art Museum offered private, docent-led private tours; The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, hosted a luncheon in our outdoor sculpture garden, and the Pageant of the Masters sponsored a behind-the-scenes tour. We were inspired to share this enriching experience with the youth from Olive Crest and eagerly anticipate future opportunities.