Community Listening Session Open to Community to Gather Input on Proposed AIDS Memorial Sculpture

PALM SPRINGS – The Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture Task Force will hold a free community listening session to gather input about the proposed memorial.

The listening session will be held at Temple Isaiah on Wednesday March 20 from 6 – 7 p.m. The event is open to all. Reservations to attend are not required. Temple Isaiah is located at 332 West Alejo Road in Palm Springs. Now is your time to speak up.

Wanted: Ideas for AIDS Memorial Sculpture

A rendering of the initial proposed AIDS Memorial Sculpture — made from a solid piece of limestone — is shown as it might look in Downtown Park.

Following challenges and public discussion around the memorial’s first design, the Task Force decided the original memorial design would not move forward. All this followed a local television news report that featured city residents saying that the design would make a “laughingstock” of the HIV/AIDS crisis as it resembles something vulgar.

The story went viral and was ridiculed on extreme right-wing websites and social media accounts.

In an effort to reopen the design process and engage the public more directly, the Task Force recently conducted a series of small-scale listening sessions to solicit community input about the proposed memorial that the Task Force will donate to the City of Palm Springs. These listening sessions focused on ideas, emotions, and general thoughts regarding what the next iteration of the memorial should evoke. After the listening sessions and Town Hall, the Task Force and the artist will reimagine the memorial’s design and re-engage with the City’s approval process.

By incorporating this important feedback and thoughts, the Task Force hopes to ensure that the memorial fully reflects the diversity and sensitivities of the Palm Springs community. The Task Force will present a new design for the sculpture that embodies the feelings and sentiments of the community. The memorial will be prominently located in the Downtown Park and will be a lasting tribute to the lives of those lost to HIV/AIDS so that they may never be forgotten.

The Town Hall forum will be moderated by Ellen Goodman, Foundation Director at Palm Springs Unified School District. A masterful facilitator, Goodman has assisted organizations with strategic development, integrated planning, and innovative and creative initiatives. She also has been an active participant on many non-profit boards.

“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,” said Mike Richey, Co-Chair National AIDS Memorial and Task Force member. “AIDS has affected every community across the world, and it is for this reason that AIDS Memorials should be established to honor and remember those lost. We hope that the community takes the time to convey their feelings about this important topic.”

The memorial will be designed 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. Adjacent signage near the memorial will provide access to a companion website will allow people to record a remembrance and link to the National AIDS Memorial and the AIDS Memorial Quilt. It will also provide additional information about the AIDS pandemic and HIV prevention, diagnosis and treatment options and local resources.

Once the City Council approves the memorial it will be placed in the Downtown City Park. It is the goal of the Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture Task Force to continue to raise the money necessary to create and install the memorial.





Image Sources

  • 2023-PS-AIDS-Scupture-1-800×568-: Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture Task Force
  • AIDS: Pixabay