The New York City AIDS Memorial’s Board of Directors (http://nycaidsmemorial.org) revealed new renderings of the final design for the memorial and formally launched their capital campaign at a press conference Wednesday evening in Manhattan.
The effort to build the memorial, which started in 2011 as a grass-roots advocacy campaign led by two young men, Christopher Tepper and Paul Kelterborn, will feature an 18-foot steel canopy as the dramatic gateway to the new St. Vincent’s Hospital Park at the intersection of West 12th Street and Greenwich Avenue in the West Village neighborhood. The memorial also will feature a central granite fountain, granite benches and a granite paving surface carved with educational and commemorative text. The text will be curated by a team of historians, artists, community members and activists led by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Tony Kushner.
“The goal of the capital campaign is $4 million, with donations from both the private and public sectors,” said Keith Fox, President, NYC AIDS Memorial Board of Directors. “To date we have already received $975,000 in private commitments needed to fund the design and construction of the new memorial.”
The private funding has come from generous gifts across the LGBT and AIDS communities, including an important lead gift of $250,000 from the Arcus Foundation, and a $105,000 grant from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
“So much of the progress made by the LGBT movement is owed to the incredible AIDS activists who catalyzed organizations and advocacy that continue to serve us today. Their story is an inspirational one of a community uniting to fight for its very life, and ensuring that this story is preserved and taught to future generations couldn’t be more important,” said Arcus Executive Director Kevin Jennings.
The NYC AIDS Memorial organization, which is responsible for raising funds for the design and construction of the memorial, is also seeking funding to provide for the memorial’s ongoing maintenance and public programming. The objective is to utilize the site to teach current and future generations about the history of the AIDS crisis and the ongoing struggle to defeat the disease.
The memorial will be constructed by the Rudin-Ofer Development Team alongside a new park that is part of the redevelopment of the former hospital complex. “We are proud to work with the New York City AIDS Memorial organization to deliver a beautiful new park to the neighborhood and a fitting tribute to the important role St. Vincent’s and the local community played in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Eric Rudin, President of Rudin Management.
Press conference attendees included representatives from dozens of organizations that supported the grass-roots effort to designate the site, including GMHC, the LGBT Community Center, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the Hetrick-Martin Institute, representatives from the local Community Board (Manhattan Community Board 2), neighborhood preservation groups (Preserve the Village Historic District and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation) and local elected officials (Wayne Kawadler, Senior Policy Advisor to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn; Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer; and State Senator Brad Hoylman).
A commitment for the memorial to occupy a portion of the park was made by the Rudin organization during the recent St. Vincent’s rezoning. Led by Speaker Quinn, the project has gone through a myriad of agency design approvals including Community Board 2, the City Planning Commission and the Parks Department. Speaker Quinn said, “The New York City AIDS Memorial will help us to honor those who fought and remember those we lost during the early years of the AIDS crisis. Its location in the West Village will remind us of the location of the original epicenter of the epidemic. I thank all who have contributed to get us to the place we are today—including the designers, city officials, local neighborhood residents and the community board. I urge those who can to provide additional support, and to remember that this memorial will connect existing generations of New Yorkers with their history and help inspire young people to become active in the ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS, which is still ravaging so many of our communities in all five boroughs of the City.”
“When it is completed, the AIDS Memorial will be an important place of reflection for so many of us who lost loved ones and friends—and it will also be a reminder to future generations that New York City must be forever vigilant when it comes to protecting the health and well-being of our residents,” said Borough President Stringer, who was one of the first elected officials to publicly support the project. “That’s why I am extremely proud to commit $1 million in capital dollars to make it possible for us to construct this new and vitally important landmark, so that our City—and the world—will never forget.”
“In my former capacity as the chair of Manhattan Community Board 2, I am proud to have participated on the AIDS Memorial jury and worked with its visionary founders, Chris Tepper and Paul Kelterborn, neighborhood stakeholders, and Speaker Quinn to help win community support for the Memorial’s design,” said State Senator Hoylman, who represents the heart of Manhattan. “St. Vincent’s Hospital was the epicenter of the early AIDS crisis and I believe it’s crucial that we have a beautiful and moving tribute to the disease’s impact on the lives of so many New Yorkers. I am enthusiastic to help launch this capital campaign.”
State Assembly member Deborah Glick said, “I am excited that the AIDS Memorial design process is complete and that the capital campaign is being launched. The cooperation between the community and the designers will make this a truly historic landmark in the West Village.”
Nearly 500 architects from around the world submitted designs for the memorial during an ideas competition in late 2011, sponsored by Architectural Record and Architizer and displayed at the AIA’s Center for Architecture. The jury, led by Michael Arad, designer of the National September 11th Memorial, selected a winning design by Brooklyn-based architectural firm studio a+i. After the New York City Council designated a site for the memorial in March 2012, the NYC AIDS Memorial organization continued to work with the original team of architects to create the new design.
About New York City AIDS Memorial: The AIDS Memorial Park Coalition was founded in 2011 by urban planners Christopher Tepper and Paul Kelterborn to recognize and preserve the history of the AIDS crisis through the creation of a memorial to honor New York City’s 100,000+ men, women and children who have died from AIDS, and to commemorate and celebrate the efforts of the caregivers and activists who responded heroically to the crisis. That effort evolved into the New York City AIDS Memorial organization. For more information about the New York City AIDS Memorial, visit http://nycaidsmemorial.org, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NYCAIDSMemorial and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/AIDSMemPark.