Bike Sanctuary Inaugural in Barrio Anitaby Ben McNitt on Aug. 16, 2009, under arts
THE BIKE SANCTUARY, TUCSON’S NEWEST PUBLIC ARTS PROJECT, got off to a celebratory start over the weekend.
About 200 people gathered at the sanctuary site at the southwest corner of Main and Davis in Barrio Anita for the inaugural. The 12 by 12 foot steel frame sculpture is dedicated to bicyclists who have been injured or died and stands as the northern gateway to the proposed El Paso and Southwestern Greenway, a six-mile long bicycle and pedestrian path to run on a former railroad corridor from downtown, through South Tucson and to the Kino Sports Center.
A previous post here provides details about the sanctuary, and the creative impetus for it provided by Joe O’Connell of Creative Machines and Blessing Hancock of Skyrim Studio along with grant support from the Pima Association of Governments and the Tucson Pima Arts Council.
What I like best is the opportunity the sanctuary gave eight Ward 1 teenagers for hands-on experience as the team that assembled the sculpture at the Creative Machines shop over the summer.
“This is an investment in the creative hearts of young people,” Ward 1 Council Member Regina Romero said to those assembled for the inaugural.
Team member Elizabeth Raskob, for example, intends to make that investment part of her career in life as she enters the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR, next week. “I loved being part of this project,” she says. “I realized that public art is part of a process in which the artist needs to be sensitive and receptive to the people” for whom the art is created.
“It’s really exciting to see the work completed,” student and team member Leah Edwards says. “I’m surprised and gratified by the number of people who came out for the inaugural celebration.”
At the night the structure is lit from above by solar powered light that projects through multicolored “story panes” created by the students. Chimes hang inside for visitors to ring. The next step is a tree planting project to augment the space around the sanctuary.
Note to readers: I welcome suggestions for future posts – contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org