Scottsdale public art piece, ‘Blooms’ wins prestigious honor

Scottsdale Public Art commission “Blooms,” by Bruce Munro has been honored by Americans for the Arts. (photo by Scottsdale Arts)

Scottsdale Public Art commission “Blooms,” by Bruce Munro, was among 49 outstanding public arts projects created in 2016 through the Public Art Network Year in Review program that have been honored by Americans for the Arts.

The program is the only national program that specifically recognizes the most compelling public art, according to a press release.

The winning projects were chosen by a jury from 325 entries representing communities across the United States, and were unveiled last Friday at Americans for the Arts’ 2017 Annual Convention in San Francisco.

“Blooms” was a temporary light-based installation comprised of seven circular platforms placed in the Arizona Canal in November 2015 through April 2016. Each platform was mounted with 100 multicolored fishing rods threaded with LED-lit optic fibers. The shape of each platform resembled a blooming flower that glimmered in the sunlight, and at night emitted a gentle glow like a bio-luminescent lily blossom.

“Blooms” served as a reminder of the ecosystem within the canal and the role it plays for the public, the press release stated.


“These selected works reflect the incredible diversity of public art projects, including temporary to permanent, sculpture to performance art,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, in the press release.

“The innovation of work demonstrated in the Public Art Network Year in Review shows the breadth of talent from artists around the country. I congratulate them and their commissioning groups for these community treasures.”

After visiting Scottsdale in 2013, Mr. Munro, an internationally recognized artist, became captivated by the man-made canal system operated by public utility Salt River Project.

He wanted his installation to highlight the vital function the canals perform for desert residents. Mr. Munro’s use of fishing rods was a reverse reference to the “catch and release” policy protecting the white amur fish imported by SRP to inhabit and clean the canals as bottom feeders.

“’Blooms’ was a very exciting installation for Scottsdale Public Art,” said Scottsdale Public Art Director Donna Isaac, in the press release, noting that this was Mr. Munro’s first public art work.

“During the five months of the installation, Scottsdale Public Art had a tremendous response from the community and visitors alike. ‘Blooms’ also provided a unique opportunity to highlight the relationship between our public art program and the canal system.”

Presentation of the Public Art Network Year in Review was generously supported by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, sponsor of the 2017 Public Art Preconference: Expanding the Ecosystem.

Jurors Sherri Brueggemann, manager of the Public Art Urban Enhancement Program for the City of Albuquerque Cultural Services Department; Kevin B. Chen, artist and curator from Oakland, Calif.; and artist Alison Saar from Los Angeles, were on hand for the announcement of the selected projects.

The art works selected for the Public Art Network Year in Review can be seen on this page.

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