Palm Springs, CA
United States
Downtoiwn Park Palm Springs AIDS Memorial since 1 December 2025
without names
From the Artist – Phillip K. Smith, III
The sculpture that will become the Palm Springs AIDS Memorial is intended to be a touchstone in the community. It is an artwork that is meant to be tactile — encouraging touch to facilitate connection and engagement. AIDS is about people and the artwork has been scaled to be at the human scale. The circular, torus shape inspires a connected, round, corner-less form that provides space for the community and the individual across its surface.

The community “face”, composed of a series of varied concentric carved circles that are smooth, flat, angular, matte, satin, and gloss, evokes the quilt of humanity that is touched by AIDS. Extending across this varied topography is a series of precise, matte, carved lines representing the “aberration” in the community fabric that has bonded us together. The “individual” face is conceived as a series of smooth undulating “fins”, like water lifting. These fins are a metaphor for grief, love, hope, and time. The form of the artwork itself has a concave and convex flex to it as the community face seems to outstretch and envelope the viewer, while the individual face seems to extend outward at the center towards the viewer.

The opening at the center is at eye level and allows a view through – a connection, a sense of hope, a view beyond what is directly in front of you. Most importantly, it serves as the connective surface that bonds the community and the individual together. It will be a natural place to put one’s hand, acknowledging one’s role in grief, hope, love, and community.

It is my hope that this sculpture serves as a touchstone in the community for all people needing a space for calm, quiet, understanding, introspection, and hope.

Images © Phillip K. Smith III Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture

25 April 2022
Palm Springs AIDS Memorial Sculpture Task Force, Palm Springs