Located in Frances Stevens Park at the start of Palm Springs’ Uptown Design District, the 35-foot-tall stainless steel Rainmaker sculpture has four colorful arms that bob up and down as they slowly fill with water then tip and spill it into a large basin. There’s an itty-bitty adjoining amphitheater where visitors can lounge and enjoy the cool breeze and mist emanating from the dancing limbs.
Created by artist David Morris, the fountain was born out of a 1988 decree from then-mayor Sonny Bono for public art. His administration formed Palm Springs’ first public arts commission, and it was thought that a fountain on the corner of Alejo Road and Palm Canyon Drive would bring traffic to what was, at the time, an underutilized area.
After Rainmaker debuted in 2000, reactions were mixed: fans called it iconic; detractors decried it as an unsightly money pit. In 2007, the work was nearly decommissioned because of its high maintenance costs. (Figures ranged from $50,000 to $70,000 per year to operate it.) Ultimately, Rainmaker survived and is now a landmark on the border of the Uptown Design District and downtown Palm Springs.
For the hues of Rainmaker’s four wands, artist David Morris found inspiration in Greater Palm Springs itself: the vibrant blue of the sky, brilliant greens of the irrigated grasses, deep red of the terracotta tiles, and burnt umber of area rock formations
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