Bike Church

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Client: Pima Association of Governments - Teaching Artist Grant, TPAC

Location: Tucson, AZ, United States

Completion date: 2009

Project Team

Artist

Joe O'Connell

Artist

Blessing Hancock

Artist

Creative Machines

Overview

Bike Church is walk-in metal sculpture located in a community-created park and constructed from recycled bike parts arranged into geometric forms. The sculpture was commissioned through the Tucson Pima Arts Council Teaching Artist Grant. Bike Church represents the rich cycling culture in Tucson, Arizona and acts as a communal memorial to fallen cyclists. The artwork is a neighborhood monument that draws from Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Native American iconography.

Goals

The sculpture is composed of recycled bike parts and custom-designed ‘stained glass’ windows. The windows cast vibrant color onto the white structure during the day. At night, solar lights illuminate the building creating a glowing beacon in the landscape. Bike part chimes hang like organ pipes that visitors or the wind can play and fill the surrounding area with sound. The piece has become a landmark and gateway to the neighborhood. As a shrine, Bike Church allows visitors to contribute to the sculpture by placing pictures or other mementos at the memorial. It has become a place for sorrow and joy; mourners regularly leave flowers for fallen cyclists and at least one couple has been married inside the piece. Bike Church is an aggregate that the public has enlivened by constantly adding to the artwork and using it in new unexpected ways.

Process

Joe and Blessing led a group of high school students to create an exuberant monument to cycling culture on the edge of downtown Tucson. The artists led the students through the design and construction of the piece for Barrio Anita, a neighborhood in Tucson with deep cultural roots.

Additional Information

-Medium: powder coated steel, bicycle parts, acrylic, LED lighting, solar panel -Dimensions: 12’ length x 12’ width x 22’ height