Blooms

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Client: City of Scottsdale

Location: Scottsdale, Arizona, United States

Completion date: 2015

Artwork budget: $75,000

Project Team

Public Art Agent

Scottsdale Public Art

Scottsdale Public Art

Artist

Bruce Munro

Bruce Munro Studio

Client

City of Scottsdale

City of Scottsdale

Other

Salt River Project

Salt River Project

Other

Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau

Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau

Other

National Endowment for the Arts

National Endowment for the Arts

Other

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Other

Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden

Other

Herberger Foundation

Herberger Foundation

Overview

Scottsdale Public Art commissioned a temporary art installation placed in the Arizona Canal titled Blooms, by U.K. artist Bruce Munro. Blooms incorporated seven circular arrays of multi-colored fishing rods arranged across a 750’ expanse of the canal. Each structure was composed of one hundred 10-foot fiberglass fishing rods threaded with fiber optic cable, so at night the structures would light up like floating, bio-luminescent lily blossoms. On view from November 2015 to April 2016, Blooms was part of an unprecedented cultural collaboration entitled Desert Radiance and was the featured art installation for Scottsdale Public Art’s signature event, Canal Convergence.

Goals

The goals of this temporary artwork were twofold: to activate the canal at the Scottsdale Waterfront during Scottsdale’s Desert Radiance collaboration and to embody the theme “Water Art Light” as the featured installation for Scottsdale Public Art’s annual art installation event Canal Convergence. Desert Radiance was an initiative to connect Scottsdale cultural organizations through light-based exhibits: “Blooms” at Scottsdale Waterfront, “Ferryman’s Crossing” at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and “Sonoran Light” at Desert Botanical Garden. In addition to being the first time U.K. artist Bruce Munro had such individualized, site-specific installations of his artwork within driving distance of each other, Desert Radiance also marked a first for the cultural organizations of Scottsdale for collaboration. While Munro’s “Field of Light” installations at botanical gardens worldwide are well-recognized, the installation for Scottsdale Public Art marked his first public artwork and his first to be installed on in moving water. Blooms continued beyond the collaborative efforts as the featured installation for Canal Convergence. By integrating the theme of water and light into the large-scale public artwork, Blooms embodied the concept and goal behind Canal Convergence: providing the public with engaging and inspiring public art installations.

Process

Artist Bruce Munro’s first visit to the Scottsdale in 2013 was for a permanent installation at the Scottsdale Waterfront. Scottsdale Public Art approached Bruce Munro for a separate, temporary art installation at the waterfront for the Canal Convergence event. With his introduction to the desert landscape of the Southwest and the concept of Canal Convergence, Munro developed the public art concept for Blooms. Munro was interested in the canal and wanted to highlight the important role it plays for residents. The proposal for Blooms consisted of seven circular arrays of multi-colored fishing rods, which served as a reverse reference to the protection of the White Amur fish imported to populate and clean the canals. In this way, the installation functioned as a reminder of the eco-system within the canal. The fishing lines were fiber optic cable, which meant that in the evening the flotilla would light-up the canal. During these initial discussions Bruce Munro was approached by the Desert Botanical Garden for a temporary installation, and the concept of Desert Radiance was born. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art also exhibited Munro’s artwork as a part of Desert Radiance, creating a celebration of Bruce Munro’s artwork premiering in the West.

Additional Information

During the five month installation period, community response and press coverage made Blooms and Desert Radiance a great success for the City of Scottsdale. Bruce Munro designed his light-based installations to highlight each selected site in a different way. This created a unique opportunity for visitors to see the broad scope of Bruce Munro’s artwork. In addition to resulting in large attendance numbers, scheduled tours between sites, and ticket sales for Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and Desert Botanical Garden, Desert Radiance garnered a large amount of press coverage in print and digital news outlets.