AIDS Interfaith Memorial Chapel – San Francisco, California - Atlas Obscura

AIDS Interfaith Memorial Chapel

The first AIDS memorial chapel in San Francisco and one of only a few in the U.S. 


In the north tower lobby of the impressive Grace Cathedral atop Nob Hill in San Francisco is a peaceful but provocative chapel dedicated to those who have been taken by AIDS and those who continue to fight the disease and care for its victims. This inner sanctum resides to the right of the entrance.

The AIDS Interfaith Memorial Chapel was first conceived in 1995 as the plague took more and more members of Grace Cathedral’s congregation. It’s first acquisition was a bronze and white-gold casting of “The Life of Christ,” a triptych by pop artist Keith Haring who died of AIDS-related illnesses in 1990. It was Haring’s last major work, and features stylized angels, a multi-armed figure reaching out, and a restless crowd, alongside uplifting symbols like a heart and a cross.

The chapel was dedicated in 2000, and also features a different panel of the AIDS Memorial Quilt every six months, hung opposite “The Life of Christ.” Symbols representing world faiths are on the walls, as a reminder that all faiths are welcome to the chapel because all faiths have been affected by AIDS.

Each fixture of the chapel, from the Book of Remembrance to the white oak altar, is a work of art intended to help keep the fight against AIDS alive in the hearts and minds of those who visit. It was the first AIDS memorial chapel in San Francisco and is one of only a few in the United States.

Know Before You Go

Monday-Saturday. 10 am to 5 pm; Sun 1 pm- 5 pm. Unless attending services or a participating event, there is an entrance fee. Maps relating to the history and architectural features are available at the front desk. There are interactive informational displays dotted throughout.

In partnership with KAYAK

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