Taking a trip to the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is more than just a means of cooling off.
It's an opportunity to make a connection between art and nature.
Thanks to a donation from Bradley Bates, a 3700-pound carved gold granite bench, titled New Horizon and created by Bruce Beasley, sits on the North Patio of the Mountain Station at 8,500 feet above Palm Springs — the highest public art installation in the nation. It will welcome visitors to sit, enjoy the views, and to share the horizons across the desert.
The inscription accompanying the bench reads: “A place to freely live, design, and love. A place where we can be who we thought we could never be. A healing and holy place for the entire world to see."
Beasley says the piece is an extension of the desert landscape.
“New Horizon was inspired by nature and in particular the geology and primal influences of the desert,” he says. “To have this piece go to the top of the mountain is the perfect situation. New Horizon looks at the horizon and it’s made of granite. The Mountain is made of granite…so it’s going home.”
Bates, who retired to Palm Springs after a successful career working for non-profits in affordable housing, was drawn to the clean lines and solid nature of New Horizon, an art piece that embodies deep meaning for him.
“For me the valley speaks to love, renewal and being who you want to be," says Bates. “We need other places in the world like this. This is a tangible gift that I hope will inspire people as well as bring awareness to the arts. I’m hopeful people will sit on the bench and appreciate what made this valley before us and reflect on the spirit of how special this place is.”
Bates, who was introduced to Beasley’s work by Melissa Morgan of Melissa Morgan Fine Art on El Paseo in Palm Desert, says contributing the bench solidified this transition in his life.
“I moved to the desert four years ago and great things happened here for me, personally,” he says. “I fell in love, got married here. Incredible things happened. However, when I first moved here nothing spoke to me that captured its spirit or told me ‘why the stars came here’. Experiencing the openness, the kindness of this community, and getting involved in the arts has given me a deeper appreciation and such gratitude. Giving back is a part of me…I get more back than I give and this community is worth investing in.”
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, 760-315-1449, www.pstramway.com