Donations Now Accepted For Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture


The Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Carving Task Force officially launched its fundraising campaign for an AIDS Memorial Sculpture on Wednesday, which is also designated World AIDS Day.

The working group has partnered with DAP Health to create a website where community members can donate. Those interested can visit The goal is to raise $ 500,000, which will cover the further development and construction of the sculpture, said task force spokesperson Dan Spencer. It will take about 12-18 months for the part to be completed.

The Palm Springs City Council unanimously approved the exhibit and its location in Downtown Park, located on the northwest corner of Museum Way and Belardo Road, at its September 30 meeting. The artwork will be donated to the city.

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The planned sculpture will be designed by Coachella Valley-based artist Phillip K. Smith, III. Carved out of limestone, the front face will feature concentric circles that create a dynamic surface of light and shadow, a metaphor for community, humanity and people who have been affected by AIDS, and on the surface will be a reel of lines, like a groove that is a cut through this topography, according to city documents.

The sculpture will be supported by a 15 foot by 15 foot foundation and will require electrical conduit for basic lighting. Adjacent signage will provide the name of the artwork and a link to a database for the names and stories of those commemorated as well as links to local health and education resources, as well as Web access to the National AIDS Memorial and the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

“The AIDS Memorial Sculpture will be a touchstone for unity, hope, sorrow and healing in the Coachella Valley. As a singular, monolithic stone sculpture, the sculpted surfaces will dance with light, shadow and reflection, ”Smith explained in a press release. “Through rotating grooves cut into the shiny surface like matte marks signifying oneness across struggle or the gentle curve of undulating shapes evoking healing over grief, it’s a memorial to touch, to feel.”

“It is a timeless and enduring landmark delicately placed on the earth. It is heavy, but light – lifting hope, lifting struggle and lifting what is important,” he added.

The sculpture will be located in the center of Downtown Park and will become a permanent fixture, according to city documents.

Artist's impression of the back side of the AIDS Memorial sculpture by Phillip K Smith, III.

Spencer, an architect who worked at a number of dedicated HIV and AIDS clinics and was part of the design team to create the Key West AIDS Memorial, said initial discussions for the sculpture have started eight years ago, but when the new city park took shape, it became “a perfect place for that”.

“It allows people to see it from all sides because it’s a dynamic piece to see how the sun plays on the carved stone, and it allows for a much more intimate interaction,” Spencer said. “And yet it is always in a place where if there is a larger gathering, say on the occasion of World AIDS Day in the presentation space they have set up with the stage. , it’s not far from it. “

In 2020, 10,337 people were living with HIV or AIDS in Riverside County, and 6,820 people (66%) were in the eastern part of the county, which includes the Coachella Valley, according to data from Riverside University Health System. The prevalence rate of people living with HIV in Palm Springs (7,535.2 per 100,000) is more than 21 times that of California as a whole (344.8 per 100,000).

Ema Sasic covers health in the Coachella Valley. Contact her at [email protected]m or on Twitter @ema_sasic.


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