Just got a heads-up from Eric Iwersen, Senior Planner for the City of Tempe, that the city's talking about preserving one of artist Rose Johnson's murals that graces a bicycle locker at Tempe City Hall. The locker mural was executed by Johnson in 1997.
Iwersen, whose job involves integrating public art with capital projects along bike paths, parks and streets, recalls that Johnson, who passed away on June 1, was the first artist he worked with when he started working for Tempe and that "[s]he was really supportive and generous and the imagery that she provided for us remains very popular in the community. I loved working with her. Rose did a lot of work in Tempe," he writes, "and it seems appropriate now to preserve one of her remaining public pieces."
But we know how painfully slow the wheels of government turn (actually, it's more like a torture rack), especially in these fiscally challenged times. So slather on some supportive axle grease by contacting Liz Lagman, who's in charge of the effort to preserve Rose Johnson's Tempe City Hall's bicycle locker mural. She can be reached at email@example.com; tell her that you insist that Tempe preserve the mural as a part of Arizona art history.
Because once it's gone, it's gone and, like Jazz Zen at the Sub Stop, which was painted over for some ungodly reason, it can't be resurrected. Okay, maybe if you fly in an army of expert Italian art restorers to painstakingly scrape off all that beige, which would be obscenely expensive, it could be done. But I bet there's no money in the Tempe town hall till for obscenely expensive, expert Italian art restorers to rescue Rose Johnson's bike locker mural if it ever gets painted over.
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