Ensuring the lives of those lost to HIV and AIDS are never forgotten

About the Palm Springs AIDS Memorial

It is the mission of the Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Task Force to ensure the lives of those lost to HIV and AIDS are never forgotten and that their stories are remembered in the future.

In Fall 2021, the City of Palm Springs accepted a proposal made by the Task Force to install an AIDS Memorial in the Downtown Park located at Belardo Road and Museum Way. The Memorial will be created by internationally renowned Palm Springs artist, Phillip K. Smith III. It will be gifted to the city and people of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. 

The Memorial will have maximum impact in the Downtown Park by adding great beauty and providing the opportunity for reflection and remembrance. In addition, a virtual memorial will be created that may be accessed by a QR code prominently displayed near the Memorial.

Recently, the Task Force conducted five small-scale listening sessions with invited community members, plus an open-to-the-public Town Hall-style session.  At these sessions, we heard people want a Memorial to communicate hope, loss, grief, gratitude, and love, among other concepts and emotions.

Now that we have completed getting community input, we are analyzing all the insightful suggestions and reflections of emotions, creativity, concerns, and visions as we design the new Memorial. Our goal is to have a new design we can share with the public that will abide by our original mission – to ensure the lives of those lost to HIV and AIDS are never forgotten.

The Task Force will present this new design to the Arts Commission and Palm Springs City Council for approval. Following this, we will source fabricators and create the Memorial.

The Memorial will have three primary parts: the Memorial site in the Downtown Park with possible seating, the Memorial itself, and the Memorial signage with a QR code that leads to the Palm Springs AIDS Memorial website which will include links to a broad range of related content. The website has not been designed, but we aim to include links to HIV/AIDS education, healthcare, and related services, plus links to other AIDS Memorials. Other information and experiential concepts are being considered.

We are honored that award-winning artist, Phillip K. Smith III, will design the memorial pro bono. Some of his public artworks are located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Kansas City, Nashville, Oklahoma City, and beyond.

We continue to welcome all contribution levels to support this important project. The Task Force has partnered with DAP Health to act as a fiscal processing agent for 501(c)(3) donations. 

To stay in touch, or if you have any questions or require assistance, contact us.

Thank you for your support,

The Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Task Force
May 2024

View to South

View from above from Parking Garage

The Location

Working with the Downtown Park design consultants, the site for the Memorial was chosen based on the following:

  • The location between the two mesquite trees is both open and sheltered, allowing for 360-degree movement around the Memorial.
  • It will provide an intimate setting off the main park pathway with easy access for all visitors and provides exposure to the beauty of the park and surrounding vista of sky and mountain.
  • The existing features and functions of the park are not disrupted by the Memorial site.

“It is our responsibility to remember the lives of loved ones lost to the AIDS epidemic and to continue to tell the stories of those lost so that they are never forgotten. We want to acknowledge the many communities impacted by HIV/AIDS, including long-term survivors, our chosen and biological families, and our compassionate caregivers. It is for this reason that AIDS memorials should be established.”

-Mike Richey, Co-Chair National AIDS Memorial

Phillip K. Smith, III

About the Artist

After growing up in Southern California’s Coachella Valley, Phillip K. Smith III received his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design. From his Palm Desert, CA studio, he creates light-based work that draws upon ideas of space, form, color, light + shadow, environment, and change.

Featured in hundreds of online and print publications, Phillip is known for creating large-scaled temporary installations. His public artworks are sited in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Kansas City, Nashville, Oklahoma City, and beyond; and the artist was recently commissioned to create permanent, light-based works for the cities of West Hollywood, CA, Scottsdale, AZ and Bellevue, WA.

Media

2024 - 02 -29
Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Town Hall Listening Session Scheduled for March 20

The Palms Springs AIDS Memorial is about to become a reality.

Please donate. The Palm Springs AIDS Memorial will ensure the lives of those lost to HIV and AIDS are never forgotten, and it will serve to acknowledge the many communities impacted by HIV/AIDS, including long-term survivors, our chosen and biological families, and compassionate caregivers.

Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture
Task Force

Ann Sheffer

Ann Sheffer is an arts advocate and patron, and has been deeply involved in private, foundation and government funding for the arts, on the national, state, and local levels. She is former chair of the Palm Sp...

Ann Sheffer is an arts advocate and patron, and has been deeply involved in private, foundation and government funding for the arts, on the national, state, and local levels.

She is former chair of the Palm Springs Public Arts Commission, former chair of the Arts for IE Fund at the Inland Empire Community Foundation, and was a founding member of the board for Palm Springs Sister Cities.

Ann was previously a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, appointed by President Clinton, and was founding chair of the national Americans for the Arts Action Fund, on which she continues to serve.

Arturo Fernandez

Arturo Fernandez, former professional dancer, ballet master and long-time staff member of Alonzo King LINES Ballet. Retired to the Coachella Valley with his husband Derek and dog Eddie in September of...

Arturo Fernandez, former professional dancer, ballet master and long-time staff member of Alonzo King LINES Ballet, retired to the Coachella Valley with his husband Derek and dog Eddie in September of 2020 and has been living the resort life ever since.

Having lived with HIV/AIDS for over 30 years, this is a project near and dear to his heart as the disease has devastated so many areas of his life. Arturo wants thank all who donate to this memorial sculpture because it means so much to so many.

Dan Spencer

In the 1990s, as an architect in Minneapolis, Dan designed the first HIV/AIDS clinic in the city - a social service/day center for persons with HIV/AIDS – and one of the first LGBT youth centers in...

In the 1990s, as an architect in Minneapolis, Dan designed the first HIV/AIDS clinic in the city - a social service/day center for persons with HIV/AIDS – and one of the first LGBT youth centers in the country.

He was also on the winning design team for the international Key West AIDS Memorial competition. The memorial was completed in 1997. In 2012, at World AIDS Day/Day without Art, Dan, then the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Architecture and Design Council chair, proposed, during his presentation “Memory and Memorials, that Palm Springs create its own AIDS memorial. And thus, the task force was born.

Dan, and his husband Joaquin Galeano, PsyD., have lived in Palm Springs full time since 2008. Dan is also vice president of the Palm Springs Unified School District Foundation Board, president of the American Institute of Architects, California Desert Chapter (AIACDC) and is a founder and performer with Modern Men: Coachella Valley Men’s Chorus.

Jeffrey Jurasky

Jeffrey Jurasky came to Palm Springs in 1979 from San Luis Obispo where he studied architecture and graphic design at California Polytechnic State University. His friend Joey Polk introduced...

Jeffrey Jurasky came to Palm Springs in 1979 from San Luis Obispo where he studied architecture and graphic design at California Polytechnic State University. His friend Joey Polk introduced him to Steve Chase in 1983 and after working at Steve Chase Associates for four years, he started Jeffrey Jurasky & Associates, Inc, specializing in great design for wonderful clients. Jeffrey is certain that his professional life would not have been as rewarding had it not been for his time at Steve Chase Associates. Both Steve and Joey died from AIDS. For Jeffrey, this is their memorial.

Married for 40 years to his wife Kathleen, he is the proud, father of daughter Aneka Brown, grandfather of two grandsons and great-grandfather to one great
granddaughter.

Mike Richey

Co-Chair National AIDS Memorial, San Francisco, CA. Over the past four decades, the lives lost to AIDS have been a dark cloud surrounding Mike’s life and those of so many others. Mike has chosen to...

Co-Chair National AIDS Memorial, San Francisco, CA

Over the past four decades, the lives lost to AIDS have been a dark cloud surrounding Mike’s life and those of so many others. Mike has chosen to face this reality by committing his efforts to ensure the names of loved ones lost are remembered and their stories are told into the future.

Mike believes that every community impacted by this loss can create a memorial to ensure we honor all our friends and family.

Mike is proud to be a member of the Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture task force whose goal is to establish a place to convene, to remember, to grieve, and to heal; as we also ensure the lessons learned from one pandemic can be shared with others in times of loss, fear and injustice.

Stuart Kent

Shortly after moving to San Francisco from Toronto 30 years ago, Stuart got involved in volunteering to help clear trash and overgrown brush from the de Laveaga Dell in Golden Gate Park which would...

Shortly after moving to San Francisco from Toronto 30 years ago, Stuart got involved in volunteering to help clear trash and overgrown brush from the de Laveaga Dell in Golden Gate Park which would eventually become the National AIDS Memorial Grove. He did it primarily to honor his many friends lost to AIDS back in the mid to late ‘80s and early ‘90s. As he spent more time in the Dell, Stuart shared his story and developed connections to other similarly impacted residents.

Having moved to Palm Springs with his husband Mark in 2019, Stuart wanted to ensure that people had a place to go to reflect on the live lost or impacted by HIV/AIDS. Most people living here - and certainly all who are visitors - come from other towns and have stories of living alongside someone with AIDS either personally or via family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers. The AIDS Memorial Sculpture in the Downtown Park will give residents and visitors alike a place to gather and share stories, so no one is forgotten.

Todd Hover

Thirty years ago, at the start of the AIDS crisis, Todd Hover was living in West Hollywood. Over several years, he lost everyone who was important to him. It was during that time that he started visiting...

Thirty years ago, at the start of the AIDS crisis, Todd Hover was living in West Hollywood. Over several years, he lost everyone who was important to him. It was during that time that he started visiting Palm Springs to get a break from the overwhelming grief he felt. He eventually moved to Palm Springs full time and became active in the Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture Task Force whose goal is to memorialize all those he and others lost to AIDS. Now retired, Todd and his husband live in Hawaii.

Dana Manciagli

Dana Manciagli, a full-time resident of the Palm Springs area, has deep experience with multiple non-profits and leading major initiatives. She is leveraging her corporate marketing background to help...

Dana Manciagli, a full-time resident of the Palm Springs area, has deep experience with multiple non-profits and leading major initiatives. She is leveraging her corporate marketing background to help make the Palm Springs Memorial as impactful as possible.

Karyl E. Ketchum, Ph.D.

Karyl E. Ketchum, Ph.D., Dept. Chair of Gender and Queer Studies at Cal State Fullerton sees the Palm Springs AIDS Memorial as preserving the horrific memory of how institutionalized prejudice...

Karyl E. Ketchum, Ph.D., Dept. Chair of Gender and Queer Studies at Cal State Fullerton sees the Palm Springs AIDS Memorial as preserving the horrific memory of how institutionalized prejudice devastated an entire generation, but also how love and the creation of caring communities can change the course of both a terrible disease and an entire culture.

Contact Us

To help us reach our fundraising goal, the task force has enlisted Paul Clowers and Ellen Wolf of The Development Department Inc. to lead the project. The task force has also partnered with DAP Health to act as the fiscal processing agent for donations which can be made by visiting daphealth.org/aids-memorial-fund.

For additional information or donation assistance please contact The Development Department Inc. at PSAMS@DevDeptInc.com or call 760-669-3366.

Sign up to Stay in Touch!

Sign up to receive the latest news on the Palm Springs AIDS Memorial


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Palm Springs AIDS Memorial·

Palm Springs AIDS Memorial·

Palm Springs AIDS Memorial·

Palm Springs AIDS Memorial·

Palm Springs AIDS Memorial·