Client: City of Tucson
Location: Tucson, AZ, United States
Completion date: 2020
Artwork budget: $135,000
Niki Glen Studios
City of Tucson
The Studio by Cindee Lundin
Ralph Prata Sculpture
Rhythms of Nature, a Showcase of Art and Landscaping in an Urban Setting. This series of six pocket parks along a bicycle and pedestrian pathway aims to inform and educate people about the beauty and wonders of our natural world. The colorful and intricate sculptural forms enhance the roadway and create a visual and sensory experience, while at the same time blending in with the landscape. This design establishes our universal connection and shortens the distance between humans and the natural world. Themes of nature inspire awe and awareness of the natural beauty that surrounds us. The unity of plants, people, and the elements depicted in mural-like scenes are meant to inspire conversations, thoughts, and new experiences of the astounding power of nature. Hand-carved in bas-relief by artists Niki Glen, Cindee Lundin, and Ralph Prata, each piece tells a story.
The artists wanted all users of the roadway – motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians – to be able to appreciate the art at the six art sites along the 2-mile stretch. To accomplish this they designed large pieces for motorists to enjoy from a distance, and small pieces for pedestrians to stop and examine. One of their goals was to create art that people will return to time and time again and always find something new to discover and relate to.
In addition, the piece honored the desires of the residents of the area, who wanted art that represents the beauty and resources of the desert. According to Greg Orsini, Project Manager for the City of Tucson, “It was important that the Broadway residents have their voice heard in the art selection panel so that they could be happy with how the art came out, as they are the citizens who will get to see it each day as they utilize Broadway.”
Rhythms of Nature is a series of sculptural sites built along Broadway Boulevard between Camino Seco and Houghton Road in Tucson, Arizona. The 2 mile pedestrian walkway, boulevard, and bicycle path showcases the public art created by Niki Glen Studios. Public artist Niki Glen was joined by local sculptors Cindee Lundin and Ralph Prata to create these stunning works of public art. The sculptures were fabricated in The Studio by Cindee Lundin collaborating with Niki Glen, who oversaw the design. Local residents participated in public meetings and collaborated on a panel as well. Their input and suggestions were integrated into the artists’ overall design concept. The artists then built the sculptures from concrete, which they hand-carved with intricate designs and nature motifs.
Each site within Rhythms of Nature is part of a broader story that interweaves the flora, fauna, and people of the Tucson area within a historical framework. The project invites us to bring our awareness back to nature; space arises for reflection on how to re-connect and interact with the organic world. The design of Rhythms of Nature is contemporary and yet has a distinct regional flavor. With simple sleek forms, shapes, and stylized imagery, each of the six sites tells its own unique story in mural form in low relief. The overall palette is colorful, reminiscent of a Sonoran sunset or local wildflowers. Much of the piece is rendered in beautiful neutral tones with a splash of color here and there, much like the desert itself. By observing nature in all its complexity, we can understand ourselves better and find time to contemplate and notice beauty. We, too, are all a part of nature.