Traceries - CODAworx

Client: City of Scottsdale

Location: Scottsdale, AZ, United States

Completion date: 2020

Artwork budget: $26,000

Project Team

Public Art Agent

Tanya Galin

Scottsdale Public Art


Mary Bates Neubauer


City of Scottsdale


Austin Shepard

5 Milliron Manufacturing


“Traceries” comprises eight brightly colored recycle/trash bins designed by Arizona artist Mary Bates Neubauer, located at the Scottsdale Waterfront. While the project began as a collaboration between Scottsdale Public Art and the city of Scottsdale’s Solid Waste Services to develop a method for promoting recycling and achieving a zero-waste goal at Scottsdale Public Art’s annual event Canal Convergence, it resulted in a series of visually stunning pieces of art.

In her design, Neubauer created colorful dual container bins for side-by-side recycling and trash. Each “Traceries” bin has a double layer of steel sheet metal, with the top layer incorporating tracery designs that are powder-coated in bright contrasting colors. The design themes feature butterflies, desert flowers, whirling impellers, and hummingbirds. The various paint colors used are reflective of the Southwest’s desert wildflowers, but they also provide a pop of color that draws people in to use them.


The Waterfront in Old Town Scottsdale—along the Arizona Canal between Goldwater Boulevard and Scottsdale Road—hosts multiple events every year, including the 10-day free public art event Canal Convergence | Water + Art + Light. Scottsdale Solid Waste and Scottsdale Public Art have a goal for Canal Convergence to become a zero-waste event. By adding the permanent bins to the Waterfront, it will bring the event one step closer to this goal and encourage year-round recycling at the Waterfront. Additionally, since most of the metal used in the creation of the public art bins were from the city’s decommissioned bins, it adds another layer onto the recycling initiative.


Scottsdale Public Art teamed with Scottsdale Solid Waste Services for the project. Both organizations wanted to address the city of Scottsdale’s need for a practical recycle/waste bin while also adding public art features to the Scottsdale Waterfront. During Canal Convergence in November 2018, attendees had the chance to see designs for this project by three different artists and then vote for their favorite design. Neubauer’s design received the most votes.

The artist worked closely with Scottsdale Public Art, Scottsdale Solid Waste Services, and the city of Scottsdale to fine-tune her design so that it stayed true to her original idea but also worked as a utilitarian object for the city. Solid Waste Services supplied metal from decommissioned garbage bins to create the new bins. After receiving the metal, Neubauer worked with 5 Milliron Manufacturing to fabricate the bins. The bins were delivered and placed along the south side of the Waterfront in May 2020.

Additional Information

The artwork is also a part of Scottsdale Public Art’s augmented reality project. At the artwork’s location, through the Hoverlay app, you can virtually meet the artist as Neubauer shares the story behind these beautiful recycle and waste bins.