Culture News

Gimme Shelter: Artist to Design a "Connected Oasis" in Downtown Phoenix

This time, we're talking about the good kind of "shady" in downtown Phoenix

The National Endowment for the Arts granted $25,000 to The Phoenix Office of Cultural Affairs a few weeks ago to help cover the design costs of Gimme Shelter, a public art project in hopes of creating more livable, walkable space downtown.

The basics of the project in front of Downtown Phoenix Public Market (on Pierce Street between Central Avenue and First Street) are simple: a narrower street, wider sidewalks, more trees.

Translation: more refuge from the sun and asphalt, especially during the hot, foodie mess of open-air markets on Saturday mornings.

The design will be selected from a pool of four design teams including coLAB and 11Ten from Arizona, Divergent ARCHITECTURE from Portland and MATTER, a design team from Brooklyn.

They'll arrive in Phoenix in a few weeks to tour the area and experience a Saturday morning market and will then have six weeks to draft their plans and presentations.

The location was scouted by members of The Phoenix Office of Cultural Affairs, who were looking for a downtown location that had large amounts of foot traffic. (Must have been all that Royal coffee.) The Office offered the Public Market a deal: we build it, you maintain it. Luckily, the Market couldn't resist.

The Phoenix Office of Cultural Affairs will match NEA's grant, so the winning team will be given $50,000 to cover design costs. The long-term time line for the project has yet to be determined, but Elizabeth Grajales, who is the public art project manager says the design will be finalized within a year of the grant's issue date.

More information about the project can be found on the National Endowment for the Arts and The Phoenix Office of Cultural Affairs websites

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Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton