Art is intrinsic to the vibrancy and character of Downtown Tempe- linking people to our city and to each other. For years, downtown Tempe has worked with local artists to have public art and creative energy woven throughout the district that makes our downtown a soulful and imaginative community. Learn from Kate Borders, CEO/President of DTA, about some of the exciting public art projects in the works around downtown Tempe.
I first knew of Kyllan Maney when she painted our Big Chair in bright purple, pink and yellow circles. Since that original design, we have worked with her on many placemaking projects in downtown Tempe. Most recognizable is probably the large TEMPE sign at Mill and Rio Salado. But this post is about a new project that has added some vibrant color to Mill Avenue, the wall along the east side of Mill that edges the Mission Palms property.
A couple months ago, I was meeting with Kyllan to discuss a new street painting project (more to come on that soon) at 7th and Forest. After we went over the street project details, I thought I’d get her feedback on the mural wall. Standing on that street corner in midday sun, I showed her pictures of the Mission Palms wall. About a week later she sent images that would bring her signature bold colors and shapes to life on that wall. I sent the images to the General Manager at Mission Palms and he gave me a thumbs up almost immediately.
Sometimes things just fall into place. I must give credit to Nancy Baker, with Silicon Valley Bank, who has been looking at that wall for years and asking me, “can we paint that wall?” Her persistence was followed by a commitment to provide a grant and volunteers to help with painting. Next, I found that the permitting process through the City of Tempe was simpler than I ever anticipated and the team of people in planning were helpful at every stage of the process.
This project added a mural wall into Downtown Tempe. Public art creates an opportunity for greater connection to a place. It opens conversations, demonstrates our care of the place, and brings a greater attention to beautification that wows guests and locals. We can all use some beauty in our lives and our communities.
Kyllan and her team have recently completed the mural and it is amazing. Be sure to look for it the next time you are on Mill Avenue between 4th and 2nd Streets.
Hopefully soon, we will provide an update on the street project at 7th and Forest … so many good things to come!