Tucson streets are becoming embellished with large-scale sculptures thanks to the new Sculpture-on-the-Street program by local non-profit art organization SculptureTucson.
This new community outreach program by SculptureTucson intends to place sculptures outside of local businesses around Tucson in order to help connect local artists with the community, according to SculptureTucson’s website.
“Some [sculptures] have already been placed and we're getting new ones as we speak. We've placed about four at this point and we just opened the program,” said Ryan Hill, the director of SculptureTucson.
By placing the sculptures around the city, sculptors are able to have their work viewed by thousands of people, according to the SculptureTucson website.
“The idea is to really get our art out into the public, where the public can really enjoy it. And a lot of people who don't know a lot about art can, you know, be enriched by that experience,” said Moira Geoffrion, an advisory committee member for SculptureTucson and the former University of Arizona art department head.
Currently, some of the sculptors involved in the program include Hector Ortega, Steve Kimble and Otto Rigan.
SculptureTucson is looking to expand the number of sculptors and sculptures for their new program, according to Hill.
“Right now, we are having a call out for sculptors who do public scale work," Hill said. "So this is work that can be outside. This is work that can be like a physical marker for a place. Anyone can apply and we're not basing it on the artists. We're basing it on the sculpture."
Patricia Frederick, who is a sculptor involved with SculptureTucson, said she hopes to have her pieces of work displayed in the new program.
“It’s a really great idea because a lot of people don't visualize sculpture either on their own properties or elsewhere, except maybe huge civic buildings,” Frederick said. “So I think it's really wonderful to expose people to what's available, because a lot of times we don't have the full gamut of experience in our own minds.”
For members of the community looking to view a variety of sculptures in one place, SculptureTucson is hosting an exhibition of 12 artists at the Tucson Botanical Gardens from Sept. 26 to Jan. 3, according to Hill.
“Those sculptures are a good example of large scale sculpture, and a lot of them are being commissioned for that space,” Hill said.
In addition to the new Sculpture-on-the-Street program, SculptureTucson hosts the annual SculptureTucson Festival Show & Sale.
Due to COVID-19, this years’ sculptures were exhibited online, but SculptureTucson is planning on hosting the festival next year from March 19 to 21, according to Hill.
“The festival is kind of like the biggest thing all year because we usually have over 65 artists showing their work, and every year it gets bigger,” Hill said.
Along with the call for artists, Hill is actively looking for an intern interested in learning about art non-profit organizations that could help with next year’s festival.
As SculptureTucson continues to prepare for next years’ festival, it is also working on building a sculpture park at its headquarters, the Post House, located at Brandi Fenton Memorial Park, according to Geoffrion.
“I think what's unique about this program is that we've expanded the program to things like the sculpture park and we're developing Sculpture-on-the-Street and also educational programming out of the Post House,” Geoffrion said. “And the goal was to try and help local and regional artists learn, you know, the nuts and bolts of being a professional artist and how to protect yourself and your work.”
SculptureTucson will continue to serve the Tucson community by adding more sculptures to the Sculpture-on-the-Street program and working on other projects that bring light to local artists, according to Hill.
“I think that it's important for the community to know that SculptureTucson is for the community and everything SculptureTucson does has that in mind,” Geoffrion said.
For more information about SculptureTucson, call (520) 334-5871 or visit https://sculpturetucson.org.
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