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Client: Museums and Cutltural Affairs- City of El Paso

Location: El Paso, TX, United States

Completion date: 2021

Artwork budget: $75,000

Project Team

Client

MCAD

City of El Paso

Artist

Carol May

May+Watkins Design

Artist

Tim Watkins

May+Watkins Design

Overview

Desert Blossom is a signature sculpture as well as an engaging, interactive entrance to El Paso’s iconic Franklin Mountains. The sculpture stands at 19-feet high. Cast glass disks span the arch and are embedded in the shade structures. These disks glow and cast colored shadows on the ground as the sunlight pierces through. Desert Blossom incorporates interactive sound play for children, including bells and sound spinners. The diamondback snakes on the adjacent fence have interactive tails – washer and threaded rod rattles that make sound and vibrate too. The snakes are made of concrete with mosaic tile and provide a tactile path to the Archway.

Goals

The goal of Deseret Blossom is to beautify and enhance the visitor experience at Chuck Heinrich Memorial Park. Not only is this park a part of a growing community in Northeast El Paso, but it also serves as a major corridor to the Franklin Mountains, hiking/ biking trails, and the best place to see the best sunsets in the world.

Process

In the initial proposal, there were several suggested options for artworks including seating and shade structures, a signature entrance sculpture, and a gate.

The committee selected the gate option, so the artists created three maquettes showing three design directions. One of the options was unanimously selected and they began in-depth design development which included drawings, a scale model, color and material boards, engineering drawings, and lighting plans. The artist worked with members of the community and the public art committee, and their input was key to developing a beautiful artwork and an appropriate design.

Originally, the artwork was going to be the entrance piece for an inclusive children’s playground. So we wanted to create work that would be assessable to all. This is why in addition to the gate, we created two tactile mosaic sculptures that included sound elements. These sculptures were originally designed to be anchored to the fence on each side of the gate.