Chicago's AIDS Garden Finally Complete in Time for Pride Month

Self-Portrait, Keith Haring

By CGN Staff via PR

This week the AIDS Garden Chicago officially opened. It is the City’s first public monument to memorialize the early days of Chicago’s HIV epidemic, and to honor those who continue to fight against the disease today.

This 2.5 acre “park with purpose” is built along Lake Michigan just south of Belmont Harbor at the original location of the historic Belmont Rocks gathering spot – a space where the local gay community gathered between the 1960s and 1990s. “The Rocks” were about claiming the right to be out of the shadows and out of the closet.

The Garden’s first phase was completed in late 2019 with the installation of its anchor piece, ‘Self-Portrait,’ a 30-foot sculpture by iconic late artist and activist Keith Haring. Ground was broken on the Garden in June 2021, and a ribbon cutting one year later on June 2, 2022, marked the Garden’s official public opening.

‘Self-Portrait,’ Haring's sculpture, is the only one of its size in existence, and is a welcome addition to Chicago’s collection of public art in the parks with a prominent Lakefront location. It was provided through a generous gift from the Keith Haring Foundation with the support of Rosenthal Fine Art, Inc.

Visitors are guided with markers and milestones through a variety of intimate and collective garden spaces all providing a sensory nature experience, the most notable being a memorable grove of Gingko trees and a perennial garden of natural plantings at the entrance. A serpentine path is the site for future temporary art installations and programming organized by community partners.

 To learn more about the garden and how you can share your own stories of the HIV/AIDS epidemic please visit