Pillar of Fire is a tribute to the healthcare workers at the old Whitman Walker Clinic from 1987-2008 at 14th and S Street, Washington DC., who mobilized to provide compassionate care to many during the during the early days of the HIV-AIDS pandemic in the 1980s on this site. The column of solid glass weighs 2000 pounds and it is post-tensioned to 15,000 pounds. The sculpture has an internal and external intelligent lighting system.
A pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day are said to have led a lost people through the desert in ancient times. This sculpture honors those who served on the front lines of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in its dark early days, working to provide compassionate care to many in the fast-moving pandemic. They worked in the face of official silence, an almost total lack of funding, societal condemnation and broad institutionalized discrimination.