Canopy Tempe Interior, 2020.


Client: Canopy by Hilton

Location: Tempe, AZ, United States

Completion date: 2020

Artwork budget: $185,000

Project Team


John Randall Nelson



Ron Ruff

R.J. Ruff and Co.


Matt Kosednar

Allen & Philp Architects


On the exterior and under the Canopy, four cairns mark the beginning of a trailhead.

Forged steel Grackles, Geckos and Quail represent the area’s desert wildlife and inspire a sense of curiosity and imagination.


An immersive Public Artwork depicting the shifting views of a desert trail, the geologic shapes connect with the dusky glow of the surrounding desert. Here a contemporary trailhead carves out a space for travelers to explore, rest, look around and engage with the multi-layered history of Tempe.


The cairn’s stones were quarried in central Arizona.
The striped rock is Black Canyon Onyx, a stone variegated with unique hues of desert blush, ridges of amber and veins of jade green.

The solid, un-variegated stones are either Blue or Green Schist.

Additional Information

All were quarried along Big Bug Creek in Mayer, an old cowboy town about 85 miles northeast of Tempe. It takes about 1 million years to create 12” of the Onyx. Each layer reflects the sediment left when water flowed in and out of the area.