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Even as the LGBT community celebrates the national sea change happening on marriage equality, we mustn’t forget our darkest times: The final renderings for the NYC AIDS Memorial have been released by Studio a+i, the design firm creating the unique monument. The main feature for the memorial is an 18-foot steel canopy, which will frame a granite fountain and benches, as well as commemorative text on granite slabs. (The text will be curated by Angels in America playwright Tony Kushner and local activists, historians and artists.)

To bring the project to fruition, the AIDS Memorial Park Coalition has launched a capital campaign, which has already received $975,000 of a projected $4 million.

Ironically, the park will be located just outside the former St. Vincents Hospital, where so many early victims of the plague were treated. St. Vincent’s was closed in 2010 and is swiftly being transformed into luxury apartments.

 A memorial in a city where the epidemic had such an impact is a no-brainer. But is the design too sterile and unspecific? Will passersby even think of the thousands who suffered and died, who faced discrimination and hatred, when they stroll by? Or will they think its just another piece of public art.

Play art critic in the comment section below.

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