Downtown Phoenix is often a pretty frustrating place for an urbanist like myself. One of the things that offsets the negative urban aspects of our downtown core is its great public art. Apparently, I’m not the only person to think so.
Earlier this summer, two public art pieces in downtown Phoenix topped Americans for the Arts‘ 2010 list of the 40 best public art works in the United States and Canada: the well-known Her Secret is Patience by Janet Echelman at the Civic Space Park and Habitat by Christy Ten Eyck and Judeen Terrey at the Phoenix Convention Center. A third Phoenix piece, Spirit of Inquiry at the University and Rural light rail station ASU by Bill Will and Norie Sato, is easily accessible from downtown Phoenix on light rail
The pieces were selected for Americans for the Arts’ 2010 Public Art Year in Review which recognizes 40 of the year’s best public art works in the United States and Canada. This year’s selections consisted of projects from 29 cities in 15 states and provinces. The works were chosen from more than 300 entries from across Canada and the United States. Phoenix and Houston were the only two cities to have three pieces recognized. Five cities had two pieces selected.
Two independent public art experts—artists Helen Lessick and Fred Wilson—compiled the list, which reflects the most exemplary, innovative permanent or temporary public art works created or debuted in 2009. This is the 10th year that Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts, has recognized public art works.