Earthworks: 10-ton granite piece dropped in front of the library

Earthworks ripple effect

Photo Courtesy of The Chaparral

By Virginia Santillanes


The 10-ton granite bolder that has been dropped in front of the Palm Desert Library is part of Earthwork art.  This work, sculptures and neoglyphs were done by artist Michael Watling, a retired professor of Ornamental Horticulture at College of the Desert.  

Questions on how the rock got there. Do you know the meaning of the piece?  Deborah Glickman, Management Analyst II at City of Palm Desert, said, “So it is if the rock dropped out of the sky onto the landscape and once it does, it would have a ripple and that is what the landscape shows you and the ripple effect of the rock is like a drop of water into the water. ”  She went on to explain, “It is meant to talk about the effect the library has to the community.  That the learning inside has a ripple effect throughout the community.” Deborah says, “I love it and is my favorite piece.” “So that is the meaning of that and IMPACT means, impact of the rock falling, but also the impact of library has on the community.  It is a site specific work created specifically for where it is located.  It can’t be moved it is meant to focus on that area right there.”  The 10-ton granite bolder in front of the library is owned and maintained by College of the Desert.

Earthworks ripple effect at a different angle

Photo Courtesy of The Chaparral

Michael Watling came from a family of artist and was born on Sept. 8, 1946 and passed away on April 25, 2013 according to He has left an IMPACT and throughout the city of Palm Desert from the school to Coachella Valley are ripples of his art earthwork, sculptures, neoglyphs, and monument signs on Hwy 111, Hwy 74 (Living Desert) and Fred Waring (Town Center Way).  Art is passed on to Michael’s son Ben Watling who is also an artist and does the tours exhibiting his work and his fathers.

The City of Palm Desert provides free guided Palm Desert Art tours of Palm Desert Library, Civic Center Park, El Paseo Exhibition where you can exhibit Michael Watling’s sculptures, monuments and the earthwork art IMPACT.

One thought on “Earthworks: 10-ton granite piece dropped in front of the library

  • November 12, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    I need to change the photo on this story. Please unlock from view to edit.
    Than you,


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