Visual Arts

Here's What 11 Miles of Repurposed Rainbow Ribbons Looks Like

Searching for a pick-me-up after this month's excessively gray skies? How about 11 miles of rainbow-colored ribbon to brighten your day? 

For "11 Miles of Color: Repurposing Spring Crossing" — Scottsdale Public Art's first exhibition of 2016 in the Gallery at Scottsdale Public Library — 11 Arizona artists breathe new life into recycled materials. Repurposing the polyester ribbons that were used in a recent Marshall Way Bridge installation, the artists each developed a new artwork.

In 2014, Minneapolis-based artist Randy Walker created "Spring Crossing," a temporary installation for Scottsdale's Canal Convergence: Spring Equinox, an event that brings temporary public art installations to the Scottsdale Waterfront. Walker's original installation included nearly 11 miles of 35 different colors of UV resistant, solution-dyed 13/16" acrylic braided ribbon. The material is commercially known as Sunbrella, a performance fabric used for outdoor awnings, shades, and furniture.

Part of Walker's proposal for this project included his desire to have the materials re-purposed after their de-installation. Thus, eleven Arizona artists from various disciplines were selected to re-use Walker's materials — Jeffrey DaCosta, Amber Doe, Valerie Fair, Sarah Hurwitz, Francine Kavanaugh, Kris Manzaneres, Sharie Monsam, Courtney Richter, Shawn Rost, Katherine Leigh Simpson and Kristin Wolfe. The artists have transformed their ribbons through different techniques, including weaving, welding, and sculpture, and by introducing a broad range of materials like paint, beads, resin, and clay. 

The resulting works engage the public in a dialogue about art-making, perspective, and recycling. "All the artworks these eleven artists have made is unique to their own vision, but the colorful vibrancy of the Spring Crossing ribbons is undeniable," said Wendy Raisanen, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections for Scottsdale Public Art, in a press release for the exhibition. 

 "11 Miles of Color" is on view through April 30 at the Gallery @ the Library at Scottsdale Civic Center. The exhibition will also feature two free workshops that will be open to the public: a Mug Rug Workshop with Sharie Monsam on February 10 from 1 to 3 p.m. and a Recycling Workshop with Sarah Hurwitz (date TBA). For more information, visit
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