Art reference

Public Art Tells Arizona’s Unique Stories

PHOENIX (Arizona Highways TV) — Pick a city or town in Arizona and you’ll find incredible works of art without ever setting foot in a gallery or museum. Creative displays of expression in bronze, metal or paint dot our Arizona highways. Each piece is the artist’s response to a time or place.

“As I walk the streets of Tubac, I remember the friendships made over the services I provided, whether it was a true work of art, functional signage, or a working portal,” said David Voisard of Voisard Studios. “And that’s part of the fabric that I feel in Tubac, that my wife feels in Tubac, and that’s why we live here with our dogs.”

Like many towns along old Route 66, Winslow, Arizona nearly disappeared. Then along came a little band called The Eagles, and “standin’ on the corner in Winslow, Arizona” became more pop culture than a pop culture reference. In fact, it’s become a kitsch thing to do.

Standing on Corner Park in Winslow, Arizona(Arizona Highways Television)

Standin’ on the Corner Park is a tribute to the song “Take it Easy”. The two-story mural and bronze sculptures celebrate music and art while providing fans of the song and Route 66 a rocking place to connect, share and make some memories.

Here in Phoenix, it’s hard to turn a corner and not find buildings and walls awash in vibrant color – urban canvases that reflect the feelings, thoughts and cultural heritage of the artists who painted them.

“A lot of people want their art to hang in a gallery, but I think your art on a wall where everyone can see it as they pass by, because not many people go into the galleries,” Robin Sewell said while chatting with artist Angel Diaz in front of one of his murals. “It must be pretty big.”

He says his culture is his main source of inspiration. “If I’m going to do something in public, I tend to want to do my culture or our culture because it’s not about me at the time,” Diaz explained. “It’s about everyone.”

Phoenix is ​​recognized as one of the best cities in the country for public art. The artistic spirit of the city is easily accessible on Artlink’s First Fridays art walks. Many art spaces, galleries, collectives and performing arts cultural venues feature outdoor works that the public can enjoy day or night.

Small towns and villages in Arizona also use public art for place-making and Main Street revitalization.

“For more than 25 years, Main Street has been downtown Casa Grande, creating a welcoming and inviting environment here for people who come to visit,” said Rina Rien of Casa Grande Mainstreet.

“We want new business here,” said Kim McWherter of Downtown Live. “We want an entertainment district, and we’re in the middle of an amazing neighborhood.

“It was one of the first things we did here to advance art,” said Casa Grande artist Mark White. “The Art in the Alley event held here in the past, people have come to appreciate it. Everything you see here was mostly done by volunteers.

“The Casa Grande Art Museum is really unique in that it has a sort of intimate atmosphere,” explained Leah Kiser of the Casa Grande Art Association. “We wanted to get rid of the chain-link fence around the building and make it even more inviting.”

Some public works of art are so elaborate that it can take years for them to find their public resting place. The Prescott Bronze Foundry is responsible for many of the artworks exhibited in the Grand Canyon State.

“It’s part of what we want to show at Bronzesmith,” said Ed Reilly of Bronzesmith Fine Art Foundry and Gallery. “We want to show how much work there is. One of the comments people make all the time is that they had no idea it was so complicated.

“What’s really important — and we talk about this all the time in the art business — is site-specific work,” Reilly continued. “Where is this sculpture going? What will it look like in this environment? There are pocket parks where smaller sculptures would look great, in a small yard. And then there are rooms that are monumental in size and it’s amazing how small that room will look once it’s out in the wild and with no space around it.

Cultivating a unique community identity, celebrating our history, our diversity and our heritage. Set spaces to congregate and ignite. Create a dialogue and challenge your senses and your perception. That’s public art.

And it’s there for you just off an Arizona highway.