Ten of 14 public artworks being created for a future South Phoenix light rail extension will be designed by metro Phoenix artists. Valley Metro Light Rail announced the news on its website on Thursday, August 17.
The works will be featured at light rail stations and power facilities along a five-mile extension along Central Avenue between downtown Phoenix and Baseline Road. The extension is scheduled for 2023 completion. Existing light rail routes already include several works of public art.
Over half the artists selected for the upcoming extension live in Phoenix, including Adam Vigil, Diego Perez, Hugo Medina, Isaac Caruso, Javier Cordova, Therosia Reynolds, and the Fortoul Brothers. Phoenix artists Emily Costello and Martin Moreno are creating a collaborative piece.
"We don't know exactly what we'll be making, because we'll be working with people in the community," Costello says.
Participating artists will work with Valley Metro, the city of Phoenix, and community members on designs that reflect the history and culture of local neighborhoods.
Thomas Marcus of Scottsdale and Zarco Guerrero of Mesa were also selected for the project. Guerrero is best-known for creating masks infused with Chicano culture.
"I'm thrilled that so many artists from our community got chosen," Costello says.
She's quick to credit two people with helping to make that happen.
"Sam Gomez encouraged a lot of us to go out for this," Costello says. Gomez owns The Sagrado Galleria in South Phoenix. Alicia Crumpton, an arts advocate and management consultant, helped with understanding the application process. "It can be really intimidating," Costello says of answering an open call for public art.
Several of the artists chosen for the south Phoenix extension are well-known for their street art, but sometimes under different names. Vigil uses "A-Bomb" and Marcus, who founded Paint PHX, goes by "Breeze."
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Tucson artist Blessing Hancock was also chosen for the south Phoenix extension project. Hancock owns Skyrim Studio, which specializes in large-scale sculpture, and has created public art in Arizona, Florida, Texas, and several additional states.
Only three artists hail from outside Arizona, and they're all from New York.
Brooklyn artist George Bates specializes in illustration, hand-lettering, and public art. His work has appeared in several national publications, including the New York Times. Another Brooklyn artist, Mark Reigelman, specializes in large-scale installations. Long Island artist Priscila De Carvalho has shown work around the country, as well as France, Mexico, and Nepal.