Signs of respect: Honor for Cove artists should be in place soon

Hoping to recognize three area artists who passed away in 2018, the city’s Public Arts Commission (PAC) first moved to honor them with such signs in September 2020.
Sign blades honoring three Cathedral City Cove artists will soon be installed at intersections in the community.

Cathedral City is inching closer to memorializing three artists who left their mark not only on the Cove but on the nation’s art scene.

Driving the news: The City Council approved a sign “topper” policy in 2020. It allows residents the ability to formally nominate significant community members or neighborhoods with unique characteristics for recognition with signs that appear on top of regular residential street signs at intersections.

  • Hoping to recognize three area artists who passed away in 2018, the city’s Public Arts Commission (PAC) first moved to honor them with such signs in September 2020. The City Council approved the project at its last regular meeting in June. The PAC received an update on the project Tuesday evening.

  • Such toppers already exist in the city – honoring Agnes Pelton and Val Samuelson. A total of five new toppers are now being planned as part of the new, formalized process, at a cost of roughly $1,800.

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Dive in: The trio of artists being honored, who all lived in the Cathedral City Cove, are:

  • Bill Anson, a sculptor who lived at the east end of San Jacinto Road. His sign blade will be installed at the entrance to the San Jacinto Road cul-de-sac.

  • Tim Townsley, a painter who lived on San Jacinto Road between Cathedral Canyon Drive and Glenn Avenue. Sign blades honoring him will be placed at the corners of San Jacinto Road and Cathedral Canyon and San Jacinto Road and Glenn Avenue.

  • Joseph Novak, a painter who lived on Bel Air Drive between Grandview Road and Knoll View. His sign blade will be installed at the corner of San Jacinto Road and Cathedral Canyon and San Jacinto Road and Glenn Avenue.

What they’re saying: Residents of the Cove were mailed a letter in May explaining the formal policy and the PAC’s intent to honor the artists. Eight letters of support were received.

  • “Since its inception, this neighborhood has been home to a significant number of artists who have made major contributions to the local and national art scene,” wrote Robert Reeves, an artist who lives in the neighborhood. “… (T)he more that can be done to draw attention to the art history embedded into the neighborhood, the better.”

Looking ahead: There is no firm date for installation of the signs, but a staff report states the city hopes to have them in place by the end of summer.

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