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 into the future.

The City of Palm Springs recently 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 and 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 will be accessed by a QR code that will be prominently displayed near the Memorial.

The Task Force recently conducted five small-scale listening sessions with invited community members plus a larger Town Hall-style session that was held for the entire community. At these sessions, we heard people want a Memorial that will 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 design we can share with the public by Summer 2024 that will abide by our original mission – to ensure the lives of those lost to HIV and AIDS are never forgotten.

The design will also be presented to the Arts Commission and Palm Springs City Council for approval. Following this, we will source fabricators and create the Memorial. Our hope is to design, fabricate, and install the Memorial for official unveiling on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2025.

The City of Palm Springs has generously allocated a 15’ x 15’ space in the new Downtown Park where the Memorial will be installed. We are happy with the location because it will allow the many people who use the park daily to see the Memorial and it will reach a much broader audience than if it were tucked away in a smaller and less- visited park.

The Memorial will have three primary parts: the Memorial itself, the Memorial site and adjacent park areas with the opportunity for Memorial seating, and the Memorial signage which will include a QR code that leads to the Palm Springs AIDS Memorial web site with links to a broad range of related content including HIV/AIDS education, healthcare, and related services, plus the National AIDS Memorial, the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and other AIDS memorials. The full web site has not yet been designed.

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

As we move forward, we continue to welcome all levels of contribution to support this important project. The Task Force has partnered with DAP Health to act as fiscal processing agent for donations which can be made by visiting daphealth.org/aids- memorial-fund. For additional information or donation assistance, please contact Paul Clowers at The Development Department Inc via email PSAMS@DevDeptInc.com or call him at (760) 669-3366.

Thank you for your support.

View to South

View from above from Parking Garage

The Location

The selected site was chosen with Nate Cormier and Jason Shinoda of RIOS, based on the following:

  • The location between the two mesquite trees is both open and intimate, allowing 360-degree movement around the Memorial and good sunlight.
  • The DG surface can accommodate movement around the work and is a place for pausing off of the main pathway.
  • The existing designed functions of the park are not disrupted.

“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. AIDS has affected every community across the world, and it is for this reason that AIDS Memorials should be established to honor & remember those lost.

-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, and Bellevue, WA.

Media

PS AIDS Memorial Initial Conceptual Package
PS AIDS Memorial Task Force Statement of Purpose
PS AIDS Memorial Press Release

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

Please consider donating to the Palm Springs AIDS Memorial (PSAM).
The mission of the PSAM is to establish a destination to remember, to educate, to realize justice, and to connect the community so that the lives of loved ones lost to AIDS are forever immortalized.

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 currently the chair of the Arts...

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 currently the chair of the Arts for IE Fund at the Inland Empire Community Foundation.

She was previously a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, appointed by President Clinton, and was the founding c hair of the national Arts Action Fund PAC of Americans for the Arts, 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.

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.

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