Westernalia

Submitted by Rachel Slick

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Client: Tucson International Airport

Location: TUCSON, AZ, United States

Completion date: 2021

Artwork budget: $65,000

Project Team

Designer

Rachel Slick

Summer Kitchen Studios LLC

Fabrication and Installation Manager

Timothy Schirack

Summer Kitchen Studios llc

Overview

Modern art homage to Southwest style and botanicals. This screen-like sculpture was designed to provide a vivid river of color to the main level of Tucson International Airport, while maintaining high visibility for travelers. Inspired by local flora and fauna and the iconic MCM style of the airport control tower, the custom designs and colors are deeply symbolic of many aspects of the locale. Hand cast concrete debossed with lizard motifs provide a rustic transition to the planters, which previously held struggling plants.

Goals

Artwork was installed in 16 concrete planters spanning the "Front porch" of the airport. Previously containing struggling plants, these sculptures add a perennial pop of color to the area while celebrating local flora and fauna.

Process

Public art is always a collaboration. From consulting the director's team on aesthetics and color choices to working daily with maintenance and security crews to install the piece, we need every person to create a successful outcome.

Additional Information

The incredible collection of ancient Saguaros at the airport have always struck me as the first official "greeters" to Tucson. Creating a modern interpretation of these desert Giants starts a dialogue between the living flora and their colorful representations. Multitudes of creatures hide among the plant forms, beginning a story about the living desert and how it reveals it's mystery to those who look closely.