Harry Above the Crowd, 1998.

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Client: City of Tempe

Location: Tempe, AZ, United States

Completion date: 1998

Artwork budget: $140,000

Project Team

Artist

John Randall Nelson

Nelson Public Art

Fabricator

Michael Levine

Levine Machine

Fabricator

Ron Ruff

R.J. Ruff & Co.

Overview

Steel, ceramic tile, and concrete, 35’ x 14’ x14’. Located at City Hall, Tempe, AZ. Harry Above the Crowd celebrates Tempe Mayor Harry Mitchell. The base of the sculpture uses printed tiles to create a timeline highlighting Mitchell’s career. Transferring fragments of history (news articles, budgets, blue prints, etc.) onto tiles and placing them chronologically, creates a winding path that reflects Tempe’s history.

Goals

“A soaring, 35-foot-tall depiction of a beloved city councilman, 1970-78, and mayor, 1978-1994, as a stilt walker. Creator John Randall Nelson intended the exaggerated dimensions of “Harry Above the Crowd” to represent Harry Mitchell’s “heightened sense of potential, performance and accomplishment.”

Process

The depiction of Mayor Harry Mitchell as a stilt walker utilizes exaggerated dimensions to represent Mitchell's heightened sense of potential, performance, and accomplishment.

Additional Information

Harry Above the Crowd. Steel, ceramic tile, and concrete, 35’ x 14’ x14’. Located at City Hall. Tempe, AZ. Fabricated in collaboration with Michael Levine and R.J Ruff and Co, 1998. “A soaring, 35-foot-tall depiction of a beloved city councilman, 1970-78, and mayor, 1978-1994, as a stilt walker. Creator John Randall Nelson intended the exaggerated dimensions of “Harry Above the Crowd” to represent Harry Mitchell’s “heightened sense of potential, performance and accomplishment.” Coincidentally, live stilt walkers regularly stroll the city’s Mill Avenue during spring and fall Tempe Festival of the Arts.” Lisa Polacheck, Where Magazine, 2015