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Metro Phoenix Creatives Share Outdoor Art in the Age of COVID-19

Jen Urso's work is part of Roadside Attraction.EXPAND
Jen Urso's work is part of Roadside Attraction.
Jen Urso

Most traditional art spaces are temporarily closed due to COVID-19 public health concerns, but that hasn't stopped artists from making work and finding creative ways to share it. Several artists have installed new work in outdoor spaces, and others are preparing fresh projects you can explore in coming weeks.

Dozens of artists will be showing work as part of the Roadside Attraction project organized by Phoenix artist Patricia Sannit and a trio of fellow creatives. “So many shows have been postponed, but artists are continuing to make art during politically charged times,” says Sannit. “We want people to see their work, and take the art that’s happening in Phoenix seriously.”

Here’s a look at several ways you can experience art in outdoor spaces — ranging from a collaborative Black Lives Matter mural to a public art project spanning several cities.

Matt Magee's work for Roadside Attraction.EXPAND
Matt Magee's work for Roadside Attraction.
Matt Magee

Roadside Attraction

This month-long exhibition launching on Thursday, June 26, will include works by dozens of artists installed in outdoor locations around metro Phoenix. Some works will be shown during special viewing days or weekends. Participating artists include Mia Adams, Estrella Esquillin, Chris Jagmin, Joe Willie Smith, and Jen Urso. Organizers are creating a map to help you find them all, which will be posted on the Practical Art website.

Jayarr's mural for Spread the Love in Tempe.
Jayarr's mural for Spread the Love in Tempe.
Downtown Tempe

Spread the Love

Downtown Tempe commissioned three artists of color to create murals meant to “bring awareness and positivity.” Christanie Hunter painted a portrait of FKA Twigs, an English musical artist with Jamaican roots. Felicia Penza painted a text-based mural with a love theme. Jayarr painted diverse faces of people experiencing various emotions to highlight common humanity and the importance of dialogue during difficult times. Look for the murals at Centerpoint Plaza at Seventh Street and Mill Avenue.

Nick Rascona with IN FLUX 9 sculpture in Chandler.EXPAND
Nick Rascona with IN FLUX 9 sculpture in Chandler.
Vision Gallery

IN FLUX

Several installations for Cycle 9 of the IN FLUX public art project are already on view around the Valley, and more will be installed in coming days and weeks. For the first time, Artlink was involved with the project, which features work by more than a dozen metro Phoenix artists. Check out Nick Rascona’s sculpture at the corner of Arizona and Boston avenues in Chandler and Joan Waters’ sculpture outside the Sunrise Mountain Library in Peoria.

One of Mary Bates Neubauer's works on the Scottsdale Waterfront.EXPAND
One of Mary Bates Neubauer's works on the Scottsdale Waterfront.
Scottsdale Public Art

Traceries

Chandler artist Mary Bates Neubauer created designs for eight recycling and trash receptacles, which were installed by Scottsdale Public Art and Scottsdale Solid Waste Services in May. They’re located on the Scottsdale Waterfront between Goldwater Boulevard and Scottsdale Road. Neubauer’s designs feature bright colors and natural elements including butterflies, flowers, hummingbirds.

Kyllan Maney changes the art for her pop-up gallery every few days.
Kyllan Maney changes the art for her pop-up gallery every few days.
Kyllan Maney

Pop-Up Gallery

Phoenix artist Kyllan Maney created a pop-up gallery in her front yard after COVID closures started in mid-March. She got the idea from Melissa Waddell, a friend who participates in a national movement called #putartinyouryard. Maney built the display using wood she'd been saving for a chicken coop, then painted it to match her home before posting her work so passersby could enjoy it. The pop-up is located at 2716 East Amelia Avenue, and Maney changes the work out every week or so. 

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Look for this collaborative Black Lives Matter mural in Roosevelt Row.EXPAND
Look for this collaborative Black Lives Matter mural in Roosevelt Row.
Lynn Trimble

Murals

Muralists have been making art at a brisk pace in recent months, so keep an eye out as you’re walking or driving around the Valley. Recent additions to the downtown Phoenix landscape include Karen Fiorito’s new designs for the Grand Avenue Billboard Project and a Black Lives Matter mural located on the east side of Third Street south of Roosevelt Street, which features work by Clyde, Giovani “Just” Dixon, Nyla Lee, MDMN, Ashley Macias, and Muta Santiago.

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