Main Street Palm Springs Receives Grant

From Public Arts Commission

By Bob Bogard

Grant will fund local artists to transform benches into works of art.

Main Street Palm Springs, the city of Palm Springs’ Downtown and Uptown Business Association, announced that it has received a grant from the Palm Springs Public Arts Commission to fund a new program that will call upon local artists to paint selected public benches on Palm Canyon Drive. The artists will be compensated for their work by Public Arts Commission funds, which come from contributions by local developers and are restricted to be used only for public arts projects.

A trial program for beautifying the benches was recently conducted where local artist Tysen Knight painted ten benches. It was so well received that the program has been expanded and Knight will now oversee the transformation of the next ten benches by nine local artists (one artist will paint two benches).

Palm Springs Public Arts Commission worked closely with Main Street Palm Springs on this civic improvement campaign. They issued a call for designs earlier this year and nine artists were selected. The benches are located at various locations on Palm Canyon Drive, and artists will paint the benches in the next few weeks.

“The existing benches on Palm Canyon Drive are frequently used by residents and visitors, but they are very outdated in appearance,” said Jeffrey Bernstein, Main Street Board Member and owner of Destination PSP, a popular Palm Canyon retail store. “Rather than replacing these expensive benches, Main Street Palm Springs decided to help our local artists by providing Public Arts Commission grants to beautify them. We are so pleased that this project will brighten up Palm Canyon for all who shop and dine here.”

The artists selected to participate are Marconi Calindas, Shanah Chomsinsub, Zach Fleming, Michael Foss, Kylie Knight, Rich Rodriguez, Ernesto Ramirez, Patrick Sheehan, and QWestOwen. Ramirez will paint two benches.

“We are so pleased that the Public Arts Commission has been able to issue these civic improvement grants to Main Street to employ local artists,” said Ann Sheffer, Public Arts Commissioner. “Arranging these beautification projects during this pandemic is similar to the fantastic Public Works of Art Project that took place during the Great Depression of the 1930s. We are delighted to work with Main Street Palm Springs on this exciting project.”

In addition to the Main Street benches, the Public Arts Commission is launching a Mini-Grant program to match artists with local business owners to create art installations in vacant storefront windows and at sidewalks, crosswalks, and patios. These projects are intended to enliven the streets and draw people to downtown as it reopens.

In keeping with the Commission’s theme of ‘Art Is Everywhere,’ these Mini-Grants will also be available to neighborhood organizations with the goal of bringing public art to all neighborhoods, parks, and communities in the city. Details of both programs, and a registry of artists, can be found on the Commission’s website at