Contemporary murals are having quite the year in Phoenix.
On Friday, March 28, a who's who of Phoenix, including big wigs from Bank of America, Valley of the Sun United Way, Mayor Greg Stanton and Councilwoman Kate Gallego joined Native American Connections to open the Stepping Stone Place, a permanent, supportive housing project for the formerly homeless -- including those with HIV/AIDS or a permanent disability. Near the end of the lengthy lineup of community speakers, native artists Jeff Slim, Averian Chee, and Randy Kemp were lauded for their collaborative community mural, which was unveiled in the lobby of the building.
The mural took a few weeks to complete due to the artist's schedules, says Jeff Slim. It begins on the bottom floor of the lobby and winds and extends up the wall to a second story loft area. The mural combines the color and negative space that each artist is known for utilizing. Symbols and light "screen" layers of paint create a different viewing experiences from a distance and up-close. Artist Randy Kemp notes that they strived to leave a "design footprint" on the new space.
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Stepping Stone Place offers case management services for residents including assistance with benefits, employment, transportation, and meals. Other parts of the building reflect a Native American mentality, including the "Walk in Beauty" sign at the entrance to the grounds and the design on the window screen at the entrance of the building.
Stepping Stone Place, a $12.5 million development, was funded by Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) through the Arizona Department of Housing and $10.3M of private equity investment. Major partners on hand included Bank of America, BMO Harris Bank, and CHASSE Building Team. To find out more, visit Native American Connections at www.nativeconnections.org.