Established in 1988 by the Palm Springs City Council, The Public Arts Commission consists of seven members, appointed by the Council, to serve at the pleasure of the Council. Under the direction of the Department of Economic Development, the Commission’s purpose is to implement a visual Public Arts Program for the residents and visitors of Palm Springs; to add to the economic viability of the community; and to enhance the environment and unique character of Palm Springs by providing for the acquisition and maintenance of quality works of art.
The commission promotes the philosophy that the arts are critical to the quality of life and livability of a city. Research indicates that there is a strong link between support of the arts and a city’s economic viability. The long-term vitality and competitiveness of a city are strengthened by an investment in the arts. The expression of art not only improves the aesthetics of a city but improves the perception of the city as a great place to live and work.
Funding for the Program comes from fees collected for new development and remodel projects. Should a developer choose not to include artwork as part of a project’s aesthetic treatment, a fee may be paid in lieu of artwork placement. The fee is calculated as a percentage of the building permit valuation - ¼% for residential (the first $100,000 for individual homes is exempt), and ½% for commercial. Hundreds of projects contribute to the fund each year, in varying amounts. As sufficient funds accumulate, projects are carefully considered to most effectively utilize these funds.
Completed projects include Tony Berlant’s diptych mural “A Personal History of Palm Springs”, in the Convention Center lobby; Bill Arms’ “The Batter”, just outside the entrance to the baseball stadium; Felipe Castaneda’s “Standing Woman”, on Palm Canyon in front of the Historical Society; Doug Hyde’s “Agua Caliente Women”, at the corner of Tahquitz and Indian Canyon Way; Damian Priour’s “Flight”, at the entrance to Bird Medical Technologies on Gene Autry; Michael Todd’s “Daimaru XII”, leased to the City by the Palm Springs Art Museum, placed at the Convention Center; Emmanuil Snitkovsky’s “Lucy Ricardo”, on Tahquitz at the corner of North Palm Canyon; Richard Wyatt’s “Desert Highland Mural Project” at the Desert Highland Unity Center, 480 Tramview Road; Phill Evans’ “Desert Reflections”, City Dog Park Fencing and Entryway Gates, 222 N. Civic Drive; James Jared Taylor III’s “Nines and Elevens” at Demuth Park, 4365 Mesquite Avenue; George Montgomery’s “Charlie Farrell”, Palm Springs International Airport and David Morris’ “Rainmaker” fountain at Frances Stevens Park. In 2006 additions to the collection included "Lawn Chair” by Blue McRight located at Skylark Hotel, 1466 N. Palm Canyon Drive, “Whirlwind” by Gary Slater at Ruth Hardy Park, 700 Tamarisk Road and “Wave Rhythms” by John Mishler at Sunrise Park between the Boys and Girls Club and the Library. In Art In America’s 2006-2007 Annual Review the magazine noted Palm Springs Public Art Commission for the temporary installation of John Clement’s large scale sculpture “Squeeze”.
For more information, contact Jennifer Henning, Public Arts and Special Projects Coordinator.