Bookmark and Share

Solid Waste Management Facility



Although the project was very challenging and exhausting for everyone who worked on it, all agree that the successful result made it a positive experience.

The artists should have been involved from the project's inception to give clarity to the relationship between the artists and engineers and to the input the artists would bring to the project. This would have established a sense of joint ownership and addressed the design professionals' sense of encroachment by artists on their territory.

Prior education work with all design professionals in City departments about the value of collaboration would have been helpful.

The Team

The project was successful due to the strengths and roles of the different team members:-

  • Deborah Whitehurst, Director of the Phoenix Arts Commission for her vision of the arts as a tool of urban planning and energy in implementing this idea

  • Ron Jensen, Director of Phoenix Public Works Department for his corresponding vision in relation to his own department's projects, and his powerful position with an ability to make things happen

  • The artists Linnea Glatt and Michael Singer for their ability as creative and lateral thinkers

  • Gretchen Freeman, Public Art Program Manager, Phoenix Arts Commission for her tenacious attention to detail

The Artists

The artists must be given power to follow through into implementation of their concepts and designs.

The artists need their own advisers to provide information on technical matters beyond their knowledge.

The artists' contracts should be issued by a separate entity, in this case the Arts Commission, rather than by engineers, architects or landscape architects on the project, in order to maintain their influence and integrity.

Working with two artists on this project was valuable because they brought contrasting sensibilities both of which were needed in this scheme. However such an arrangement does have the downside of difficulties in geography and payment of two artist's fees.

Role of Phoenix Arts Commission

The Arts Commission was able to act as the separate entity through which the artists were contracted

Its involvement, and that of the artists, enabled 'dumb' questions to be asked challenging preconceptions

The Arts Commission's role in overseeing work on site was crucial in delivering the artists' intentions. There was much potential to cut corners in construction and to use inferior materials which would not have produced the effect which the artists required.

© Copyright Joanna Morland 2000