The circular public art installation pictured above can be found east of La Cholla Blvd., along the Rillito River path on the north side of the wash, south of River Road. Artists Chris Tanz, Susan Holman, and Paul T. Edwards created this “Sun Circle”, with the assistance of planetary scientist Will Grundy. Four of the taller sculptures mark the cardinal positions of N, S, E, and W.
The plaque in the middle of this sculpture states that thousands of years ago the Hohokam and Anasazi Indians “used these positions and a calendar to orient themselves in their ritual and agricultural year, to time their ceremonies and planting of crops.”
Photos courtesy of Chris Tanz.
I encourage you readers to drop by there on the upcoming Winter Solstice (December 21 at sunrise or sunset) to see how the rays of the sun line up with the sculpture’s stones. (Photo above courtesy of Chris Tanz.) Or you can wait for the Summer Solstice in June, or the Equinox (March or September).
Artist Chris Tanz was interviewed on KUAT Channel 6 on September 10, 2009 (click here) about her inspiration of this “Sun Circle” which came from the ruins of the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico.
Two ways to see this astronomical calendar next to the Roller Coaster wash in the Rillito River Linear Park–by parking about 1/2 east of it in the River Park parking lot (west of La Canada Drive, south side), or in a parking lot with commercial buildings near the southeast corner of La Cholla Blvd. and River Road. You can catch a glimpse of this sculpture driving north on La Cholla over the bridge, heading to River Road. And of course if you exercise along this part of the Rillito, you’ll be sure to walk/jog/bike/skate right by it.
Mark your modern calendar now to visit this solar inspired calendar along the Rillito River.