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Phoenix offering $700,000 public art budget for South Mountain Park

Phoenix is looking for artists to contribute ideas for its largest park. The city is accepting applications until Oct. 25 for signature artwork at the South Mountain Park and Preserve.

Home to three mountain ranges and more than 50 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, South Mountain Park and Preserve attracts nearly a million visitors annually. Art proposals must serve as a gateway to celebrate the park’s 100-year anniversary and honor its cultural importance to the Gila River Indian community, which is adjacent to the park. 

The $700,000 budget should cover all costs, including community outreach, design development, structural engineering, fabrication and installation. 

The application packet includes the following background on South Mountain Park and Preserve:

“Notably, the mountains are considered a Traditional Cultural Property by the Akimel O’Odham and Pee Posh communities of central Arizona and therefore are culturally significant. Please visit the Gila River Indian Community (www.gilariver.org) for more information.

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge sold the land to the city of Phoenix making it the largest municipally managed parks in the nation at the time. The park’s first amenities, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, included 40 miles of hiking and equestrian trails, 15 ramadas, 18 buildings and 30 water facets. Over the years, acreage has been added through bond programs and private donations, which has greatly expanded the footprint of the park.”

The city’s Office of Arts and Culture will convene a selection panel to review submissions and make recommendations to the Arts and Culture Commission. Final approval will be up to the City Council. Approval is expected in January with the art installation taking place in late 2024.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.