Old benches getting new life

Boring benches in downtown Palm Springs are being transformed into works of art, thanks to a pilot project under way involving street artist Tysen Knight.

Hired by the city’s Public Arts Commission, Knight is busy painting 11 aging adobe-styled benches with colorful images of iconic figures, including Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball and Andy Warhol.

Knight is expected to finish painting the benches in the next six weeks. If the project proves a success, more of the city’s aging benches will be transformed. The project is designed to provide an alternative to replacing the benches at a cost of nearly $500,000.

According to his biography, Knight was born in Florida, but called New Jersey his home until moving to Philadelphia after high school. He currently resides in Palm Springs, where his artwork can be found throughout the area and hangs in local galleries.

Established in 1988 by the Palm Springs City Council, The Public Arts Commission consists of seven members, appointed by the Council.Funding for the Program comes from fees collected for new development and remodel projects.

First responders get free Tram admission in August

The Palm Springs Aerial Tram is continuing to offer free admission to first responders, a move that proved popular last summer. All qualified first responders receive free admission as part of “First Responders Days.” In addition, up to four of their guests receive 25% off of their regular tram fares.

Qualifying personnel include:

  • Fire and police personnel
  • California Highway Patrol
  • County Sheriff Officers
  • Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)

The discount ends Aug. 31. Tickets are only available at the Tramway’s Valley Station on the day of visit.

Also note an early heads up: The Tramway will be closed for annual maintenance from Sept. 9 through 29, with a tentative reopening date of Sept. 30.

For more information about the Tram, including a list of frequently asked questions, check out their website here.

Grocery Outlet opening at end of month

Palm Springs’ newest grocery store plans to open its doors at the end of the month. Grocery Outlet, located at 350 South Palm Canyon Drive, will be locally owned and join more than 300 other locations throughout the US, including new stores planned for Yucca Valley and Desert Hot Springs.

Grocery Outlet owners
Palm Springs Grocery Outlet owners Mark and Kim Roznoski

Owners Mark and Kim Roznoski will join with the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 AM on Aug. 29. Both are veterans of the grocery business. Mark worked for Ralph’s for more than two decades.

The new store, built on the site of a former Staples, will employ between 20 and 30 people and offer a much-needed service to the core of downtown Palm Springs. For more information, follow the store’s Facebook page, or check out the event invite for the grand opening.