Provincetown, MA
United States
Town Hall, 1 Ryder Street Provincetown AIDS Memorial since 16 June 2018
without names
Lon-Awaited P-Town AIDS Memorial to be Unveiled
The Provincetown Cultural Council is very excited to announce the unveiling of the 1st AIDS MEMORIAL in the Town of Provincetown on June 16th at 1:30pm at the Provincetown Town Hall.
Lauren Ewing, a sculptor and installation artist who lives part-time in Provincetown, was the unanimous choice from 11 artists who submitted proposals after last year’s initial call for Expressions of Interest, says Cherie Mittenthal, a former chair and present member of the Provincetown Cultural Council.
The eight-member council, which operates under the Massachusetts Cultural Council program, spearheaded the project over the last 16 years and made up the bulk of the selection committee, along with representatives from the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod and the Provincetown Art Commission and the Town Manager.
Ewing, a collaborator in the nonprofit Digital Stone Project created in 2005 to encourage technology in art making, traveled to the city of Carrara in Italy’s province of Tuscany, noted for its stone merchants, to find the material. She selected Brazilian quartzite, a very hard stone, 40 percent micro-quartz, with an even grain that would not interfere with the pattern of waves or the text on the sides. This piece was cut into two identical blocks for a total finish size of 3 feet high by 9 feet wide by 9 feet long. It was chosen specifically because it can withstand the harsh environment of Cape Cod.
On the side surface of the sculpture there are words and poems. After the initial milling, two different texts, the single verb “remembering” and a longer narrative inscription, were engraved into the sides. Ewing worked with poets Marie Howe and Michael Klein on selecting the poetic inscriptions from the works of five poets to be part of the final piece, including “Atlantis” by Mark Doty, “R.I.P. My Love” by Tory Dent (1958–2005), “Drawing from Life” by Reginald Shepherd (1963–2008), “Naming the Elements” by Michael Klein, and “Without Music” by Marie Howe. A bronze plaque will be installed on the foundation listing each poem inscribed on the AIDS Memorial by title and author.
The top of the square 9-by-9-foot piece, which is hand-finished by the artist, reflects the rippling sea surrounding Provincetown. In choosing the ocean as her inspirational metaphor, Ewing wanted to create something that belongs to everyone, something that would be a permanent and maybe much-loved part of the community: “I wanted to make something that was beautiful and could endure for this town, which has set an example of human compassion.” After a nationwide search, the selection committee unanimously chose her design for Provincetown’s long-sought AIDS Memorial.
Then there was fundraising: while there was some public money invested early on in the project, the bulk of the budget was raised in the last two years from community-led parties and donations and private fundraisers — and surpassed the $75,000 goal by almost $6,000. The town earmarked the extra money to fund the DPW’s building the foundation. The selectmen approved a $75,000 contract with Ewing, which covers design, materials, fabrication, artist honorarium and expenses, engineering, transportation, documentation and installation oversight.
Please join us as we unveil this poignant and beautiful AIDS Memorial in the Town of Provincetown which was the first town in the United States that cared for and supported people living with AIDS before anyone else did. And this was the beginning of the Provincetown AIDS Support Group (now named the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod). As this memorial is unveiled we would like to remember Judy Cicero, who passed away this past February. She has been part of the Provincetown Cultural Council for the past 10+ years and was a passionate part of the community and worked on fundraising and all aspects of this project. She will be with us as Provincetown, a place she had called home for the past 30 years sees a sculpture on the lawn of Town Hall. She was there in the early 90s as an owner of a restaurant, friend and caregiver to the many people who passed away from AIDS. This was personal, as it was to Brian O’Malley, also on Cultural Council for many years working on this project, says Cherie Mittenthal, member who is so happy to see this project unveiled! A big thank you to the entire community who came together to make it happen! As well as Mike Winkler, who donated his Crane Service for this community project.
When: June 16th at 1:30pm at the Provincetown Town Hall
Photo (c) Cape Cod Today

9 June 2018
Cape Cod Today, Provincetown