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Scottsdale Public Art: Windows to the West

As part of our ongoing public art series, we’ve been exploring exceptional creations to be found across Scottsdale, from the unique Water to Water, to the latest installation, Pinball Wizard. Today however, the spotlight is on Windows to the West, Scottsdale’s first public art installation and one that still inspires the city today after more than 50 years in the city. 

In June 1970, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awarded the City of Scottsdale a $20,000 matching grant to commission its own notable work of art by an American sculptor. The NEA program, Works of Arts in Public Places, would go on to fund more than 700 works of public art across the country, and Scottsdale was the first small city they approached at the time. 

Two years later, in February 1972, the City of Scottsdale finished raising their $20,000 of the matching grant, and the Scottsdale Fine Arts Commision chose acclaimed sculptor Louise Nevelson to create the first work of public art for the city. Nevelson, who is regarded as one of the best sculptors of the 20th century, completed the expressionist sculpture out of monochromatic corten steel designed to patina with time. Its abstract structure and shapes resemble some of her other iconic creations. 

Louise Nevelson, the creator of Window to the West, Gazing at her other artwork, 1978, Courtesy of Dixie Guerrero, ©Pedro E. Guerrero Archives

Although the sculpture was originally titled Atmosphere and Environments XVIII, thanks to its westward placement after its completion, it quickly became known as Windows to the West. Since its dedication in 1973, the sculpture has remained a treasured landmark of Scottsdale and continues to showcase how far the city’s appreciation for art has come.

Today, due to renovations on the Scottsdale Civic Center where the Windows to the West lived, the sculpture is in storage until the construction is finished in 2023. When it returns, art enthusiasts can expect the beloved sculpture to find its new home closer to the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, but with the same western spirit as before.

Scottsdale Public Art: Pinball Wizard

Scottsdale’s appreciation for art enables artists to publicize their talents and add to the environment’s imaginative aesthetic year-round. From initiatives like IN FLUX Cycle 10 to classic installations like Knight Rise, Scottsdale proudly embraces the impact behind sharing art with others. Today, we’re spotlighting Scottsdale’s latest addition of public art, Pinball Wizard

Completed in June 2022, Old Town Scottsdale welcomes Pinball Wizard as the city’s newest public art installation. Public Artist Annette Coleman worked with Scottsdale Public Art to design and construct the vibrant project using colored glass. Coleman is well-known for her illustrative mosaic public art installations, many of which reside in Colorado, and embraces a public art philosophy rooted in stimulating inspiration and creating community. 

Pinball Wizard resides at the Stetson Plaza Splash Pad at the Scottsdale Waterfront and features 30 disco-like mosaic orbs and various mosaic waves built into the environment. Designed to catch light from every angle, the myriad of shapes and bright colored glass in Coleman’s design embraces the playful attitude that already fills the area. 

Annette Coleman installing Pinball Wizard, Courtesy of Scottsdale Public Art
Annette Coleman installing Pinball Wizard, Courtesy of Scottsdale Public Art

Drawing inspiration from her appreciation for the outdoors, specifically water, wind, flora and fauna, Coleman included various serpent-shaped waves throughout the concrete wall of the splash pad. Her inspiration behind Pinball Wizard, and many of her other projects, also draws from television shows, games and science productions, and other pop culture references. 

Pinball Wizard brings a splash of color to the already lively surrounding at Scottsdale’s Stetson Plaza Splash Pad. Visit the public art yourself and hear more from Coleman about its creation here

Scottsdale Public Art: IN FLUX Cycle 10

No matter where you find yourself in Scottsdale, you’re sure to run into one of the city’s many works of public art. IN FLUX is one unique initiative exclusive to Arizona that is empowering emerging artists to innovatively apply their creativity to temporary works of public art in Scottsdale and other communities throughout the state. Learn more about IN FLUX and their 2022 additions here:  

What is IN FLUX?

IN FLUX began as an initiative formed by various art organizations in and around the Phoenix and Scottsdale area in the early 2010s. Scottsdale Public Art launched the project to provide Arizona artists with the opportunity and resources to create temporary public art installations throughout the state. 

Since IN FLUX’s inception, it has expanded tremendously, now reaching more than 53 locations across eight cities in Arizona. Thanks to the initiative’s commitment to spotlight and aid some of the state’s emerging artists, not only does the work greatly impact the artists themselves, but it also supplies communities with inspiring works of art. 

Each cycle of IN FLUX begins when they seek out submissions from artists across the state. Their team then carefully chooses a limited number of artists to commission a unique work of temporary art that becomes displayed throughout the year. This year marks the launch of IN FLUX Cycle 10!’

The Magic of Water, Yuke Li, Courtesy of Scottsdale Public Art

IN FLUX Cycle 10

IN FLUX Cycle 10 introduces 13 new artists and artworks throughout six cities in Arizona, including four unique pieces that will live exclusively in Scottsdale. Installations for the temporary artwork in Cycle 10 concluded in June of 2022, and each piece will be on display for a minimum of a year. Here are the four artists featured in Scottsdale:

Hector Ortega 

Reliance

Found on the northeast corner of Scottsdale Road and Oak Street

Installed May 25, 2022, through June 30, 2023

Christopher Luber

Fragmented Reflection 

Found on the northeast corner of Scottsdale Road and Roosevelt Street

Installed May 25, 2022, through June 30, 2023

Yuke Li 

The Magic of Water

Found on the south side of Thomas Road between N 81st Way and N 82nd Street

Installed May 9, 2022, through June 30, 2024

Shirley Wagner 

Zenith, Surge, and Bliss

Found at Miller Plaza on the northeast corner of Miller Road and Indian School Road

Installed June 28, 2022, through June 30, 2023

Reliance, Hector Ortega

We’re ecstatic to see more of the stunning artwork helping to bridge the Valley into one community and celebrate the talented artists included IN FLUX Cycle 10 and future cycles. Make sure to observe the temporary artwork yourself throughout the next year before IN FLUX Cycle 11 welcomes a new group of emerging artists!

Cycle the Arts in Scottsdale

Thanks to the city’s deep appreciation for the arts, Scottsdale is home to some of the most visionary public art in the country. And, with warm weather here and summer approaching, there is no better way to experience the city’s inspiring works than on a bike! Here is our guide to Cycle the Arts Scottsdale 2022:

Cycle the Arts Scottsdale is hosted by Scottsdale Public Art and the City of Scottsdale. The annual cycling event is back for the first time since 2019 to showcase some of the city’s exciting public art displays and sculptures. And because this is the event’s first time back in more than three years, participants will be able to hear about some of Scottsdale’s newest public art additions. 

The leisurely 9-mile bike ride is free and perfect for the whole family. It kicks off on Sunday, April 3, and check-in is at 8:30 a.m. at Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. While the event is expected to last until noon, the ride on Scottsdale’s award-winning bike paths will only take about two hours. 

Industrial Pipe Wave, Christopher Fennel, 2015, Courtesy of Scottsdale Public Art
Industrial Pipe Wave, Christopher Fennel, 2015, Courtesy of Scottsdale Public Art

The event includes 17 works from the city’s public art collection, including Jack Knife, Industrial Pipe Wave and Terraced Cascade. Each stop will include information about the art provided by Scottsdale Public Art staff and board members and possibly feature the artists themselves.

Made for both bike riders and art enthusiasts, Cycle the Arts Scottsdale is the perfect event for those looking to explore and learn more about the vibrant community. If you plan to participate, please bring your own helmet and water, and RSVP on Scottsdale Public Art’s website here.

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