Best Public Art in greater Palm Springs

Forever Marilyn

Controversial ‘Forever Marilyn’

There’s a stunning wealth of public art in Palm Springs and in all the communities of the Coachella Valley. While we all have our tastes and preferences, there’s something for every art lover to enjoy. Here’s a sampling of some of the area favourites. If yours isn’t on here, let us know!

Best Public Art in Palm Springs

Forever Marilyn

Corner of Museum Way and Belardo Road, Palm Springs

“Forever Marilyn” is a 26-foot fall statue of Marilyn Monroe made from stainless steel and aluminum depicting her famous dress-blowing pose from The Seven Year Itch. It was featured in Palm Springs from 2012 to 2014 and has since returned to take up residence in front of the Palm Springs Art Museum.

Isabelle

100 West Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs

“Isabelle” is an eye-catching stainless steel sculpture that is said to catch and reflect the sun and color of Palm Springs by day and show off the vibrant culture and life of the city by night with its own lighting. Created by Julian Voss-Andreae, “Isabelle” can be seen in front of The Kimpton Rowan Hotel in Palm Springs.

Rainmaker Fountain

Frances Steven Park, 500 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

“Rainmaker,” a stainless steel sculpture that continually fills with water and then empties, can be seen in Frances Steven Park in the Uptown Design District. In 1988, mayor Sonny Bono put out a call for public art, and David Morris’s “Rainmaker” was chosen to enhance the park. It was almost removed at one point due to its high maintenance costs.

Woman in Glasses

2481 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

A magnificent mural covering the entire side of a building, “Woman in Glasses” will grab your attention from a great distance. Located at 2481 North Palm Canyon Drive, “Woman in Glasses” is the work of James Haunt and Zes MSK. Its bright color and bold lines speak to Palm Springs’s culture and liveliness.

The Babies

Museum Way, Palm Springs

Created by David Černý, “The Babies” appeared out of nowhere in 2018, bringing out curious crowds for a look at the eight-foot-tall sculptures. There are ten of the sculptures made from fiberglass and steel. “The Babies” have been seen in other cities, often to mark the coming of a new building or installation.

the babies

The Babies.

History of Suspended Time

102 North Museum Drive, Palm Springs

Subtitled “A Monument for the Impossible,” Gonzalo Lebrija’s “History of Suspended Time” is an eyecatching installation of a Chevy Malibu suspended above a 40-foot wide pool of water. Lebrija based the piece on another work he created in which he filmed the car plunging into the water.

Best Public Art in Cathedral City

X Marks the Spot

33520 Date Palm Drive, Cathedral City

“X Marks The Spot” is a steel sculpture located at the Cathedral City Public Library. It was created by artist and welder Simi Dabah in 2016 and stands 18 feet tall by 22 feet wide. It’s meant to symbolize the place where education, culture, and art all meet.

X marks the spotLocal Legacy Mural

68571 East Palm Canyon Drive, Cathedral City

Cathedral City’s Local Legacy Mural program resulted in the creation of a piece honoring two Cathedral City sports legends: World Boxing Champion Tim Bradley and Mixed Martial Arts and UFC fighter Kevin Luke “Cub” Swanson. Artist Rick Rodriguez has created a colorful and vibrant mural.

Fountain of Life

68701 Avenida Lalo Guerrero, Cathedral City

Originally created in 2000, “Fountain of Life” underwent an almost $150,00 revitalization project in 2017. The Fountain is so popular that the mayor found it challenging to find a time to shut it down for renovations. The fountain reflects the nature and history of the desert and features three stone columns surrounded by wildflowers, birds, lizards, bighorn sheep, and other animals.

What Lifts You Up

68701 Avenida Lalo Guerrero, Cathedral City

Cathedral City commissioned street artist Kelsey Montague to create a giant interactive mural of a hot air balloon on the wall of the Mary Pickford Theatre. The piece is meant to be a “living work of art” that the public can interact with and take selfies with.

Best Public Art in Coachella

Coachella Walls

Corner of 6th Street and Vine Avenue, Coachella

Coachella Walls was an arts-driven revitalization program designed to bring awareness of the living conditions in the Eastern Coachella Valley. Several murals, including “Cesar Chavez” and “The Anonymus Farm Worker” were created. Artists from California, Mexico, and Costa Rica created works that reflect the realities and history of the area.

La Cosecha del Futuro se Siembra con la Semilla del Pasado

722 Vine Avenue, Coachella

Created as part of the Coachella Walls project, Mexico City’s Sego Y Obval’s mural shows two open and bandaged hands holding a heart while two birds fly away from them. Its English translation is “The Harvest of the Future is Sown with the Seeds of the Past.”

Hungry Dog of the Desert

1515 Sixth Street, Coachella

Created by Ricardo Angeles Mendoza in 2017, “Hungry Dog of the Desert” features a large turquoise dog with a serpent tail. Mendoza says the four constants in all of his pieces are man, technology, nature, and the relationship between them all.

Etherea

Corner of Ceasar Chavez Street and 6th Street, Coachella

Originally unveiled at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2018, this 54-foot tall wire structure  that resembles a church, was donated to the city of Coachella by the event’s organizer. Its optical effects are such that it seems to breathe with the surroundings, and visitors can walk inside the structure.

“Family,” Orca Mural

14200 Palm Drive, Desert Hot Springs

Artists John Coleman and Landon Johnson created a 125 foot mural in Palm Desert, depicting a family of eight orcas. The project was commissioned by the Community and Cultural Affairs Commission of Palm Desert. The project experienced vandalism before it was even completed, but the artists repaired the damage and completed the task.

Best Public Art In Indio

Oculus sol, indioOculus Sol, Indio

“Oculus Sol” by Buster Simpson may look a it like an umbrella or a sunshade but it’s actually a sculptural abstraction of the agricultural side of the Coachella Valley. Its structure is based on the leaves of the palm free, and these fronds were often used in shelters by original inhabitants.

Sequitur

Highway 111 near Shields Date gardens, Indio

The City of Indio installed a public art sculpture called Sequitur in the Highway 111 median entryway just east of Jefferson Street and opposite the world-famous Shields Date Garden. Composed of three dimensional silver animals that look like horses crossed with deer, these majestically leggy creatures are hard to get close to because of their location in the media of a highway, but worth a drive by.

Sequitur

Moving Towards The Future

45125 Smurr Street, Indio

This 14×62 foot mural by David Ocelotl Garcia was created in 2012 and represents Indio’s past, present, and future through the use of bold colors and scenes. Elements of the mural break free of its constraints and show the movement of time and history.

Old Indio

Corner of Miles Avenue and Towne Street, Indio

“Old Indio” is a wonderful example of the Historic Mural Project the Indio Chamber of Commerce created in 1996. “Old Indio” was created by Bijan Masoumpanah in 2014 and features workers from the Indian Wells depot of the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1876.

Rebirth

82, 660 Miles Avenue, Indio

This mural measures 17×50 feet and explodes with vibrant colors, showing hummingbirds among flowers native to the area. Nicole Ponsler created the piece in 2013.

Best Public Art in Palm Desert

Melissa Morgan Sculpture Garden

3785 El Paseo in Palm Desert

If you want the most art in the least amount of time, Palm Desert is the place to be. Not only is there a wealth of sculpture along busy and tony El Paseo, there are two good size sculpture gardens, one at either end of El Paseo. Melissa Morgan Sculpture garden is the newest of these, laid out in a vacant lot near her gallery. With outdoor art pieces both large and humongous, there’s an ever-changing array of beautiful pieces to see, photograph and behold.

Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden

72-567 Highway 111, Palm Desert

Although Palm Springs Art Museum no longer maintains an exhibition space at The Galen in Palm Desert, visitors can still acccess the Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden on the grounds adjacent. The four-acre garden features more than a dozen outdoor sculptures and over 60 desert plants and is open every day from sunrise to sunset.

Messenger of the Puul

Civic Center Park 73510 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert

“Messenger of the Puul” is a 9.5-foot tall bronze statue created by Curt Mattson in 1991 and found in Civic Center Park in Palm Desert. It depicts a powerful Cahuilla shaman with an owl perched on his shoulder.

The Dreamer

Civic Center Park 73510 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert

“The Dreamer” is a sculpture of a man reclining into the earth itself. Created by David Phelps in 1991, it can be found at Civic Center Park in Palm Desert. It measures 14 feet long and about 4 feet high.

We Color in Hope

73545 EL Paseo, Palm Desert

Found in the Gardens on El Paseo, Shay Moraga created this mural after a battle with breast cancer. The mural features bright colors and a message of hope and support for those fighting cancer. The colors each represent a type of cancer, and Moraga has created a charity to assist others in their fight.

Coming soon?

Sarbale Ke art installation… coming soon

Sarbale Ke, Indio

One of the most anticipated works is Sarbale Ke. The City of Indio signed a deal with artist Francis Kéré to display ten of his twelve colourful towers for the next 10 years, beginning in December 2019. The sculptures, which were first shown at Coachella Music festival, were set to be installed in Dr Carreon Park (82200 Dr. Carreon Boulevard) but instead the installation is on hold and the park is left with wide open patches of dirt adjacent to a children’s playground. Read more here.

 

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Palm Springs Traveller Staff