7 Quirky Sculptures Around the Valley
The Valley’s diverse population brings some very diverse art as well. Here are some of our favorite pieces:
The “Flying Mushroom” in Downtown Phoenix: One of the more recent additions to the city’s public art is large and a bit difficult to understand. Since being installed in the Civic Space Park in 2009, it has drawn considerable comment, not all of it favorable.
- Bromo Seltzer Art in Phoenix: Marion Clark has been the owner/caretaker of the Sunnyslope Rock Garden for 30 years. But she still sees something different every time she walks through it because the garden is an unusual cluster of little buildings, strange masks, concrete statues, miniature windmills and towers composed of broken glass, cement and shattered tiles.
- A Ship Sailing Through Scottsdale?: So you’re driving along East McDowell Road when suddenly up pops this thing that looks like an oversize sailing vessel, so big that it could hold the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria and still have room for several yachts. Or maybe, depending upon your imagination, it’s a giant circus tent, large enough to hold a dozen big tops with a full complement of trained elephants.
Tree Stump Sculptures Adorn Chandler Golf Course: After summer monsoon winds knocked down several large trees on the SunBird Golf Course in 2005, the course operators decided that, rather than tear out the stumps, they’d turn them into works of art. So they hired local artist Bob Jordan, commonly known as “Chainsaw Bob,” to convert the stumps into sculptures.
- The Wounded Goddess Atop the State Capitol Dome: The white statue that has been a permanent fixture atop the State Capitol dome in Phoenix for more than a century goes by several names.She is called the Goddess of Victory, Statue of Justice and Winged Victory, but for a time the nickname Bullseye could have also been applied.
- Giant Kachina Guards Carefree Subdivision: The world’s largest kachina is a 39-footer that stands guard over the Tonto Hills subdivision about several miles north of downtown Carefree. This giant Hopi legend weighs 14.5 tons and took four months to complete. E.V. Graham, the subdivision’s developer, had it built as an inducement to get his wife to move onto the property, which at that time was way out in the country.
- Gun Sculpture of Phoenix: It took Robert John Miley more than a decade to turn guns into art. The result is a sculpture that rises above a small park at the corner of Roosevelt Street and Central Avenue in downtown Phoenix. Miley spent 11 years acquiring the land, material and manpower needed to create the work. The statue, which resembles a man lifting his arms skyward, is made of steel and weighs 17,000 pounds.
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I’ve always loved the Sunnyslope rock garden. When I first saw it, I thought it was a kind of nightmare but, when I began to look at the individual pieces, I realized how cool it really is.
I’d heard about the “wounded goddess” before, but always wondered about it. If I recall correctly, Phoenix had a gun ordinance by about 1895. Anyone who was armed was obliged by law to drop off their weapon at the town marshal’s office and leave it there until they were on their way out of town. Maybe it was just those cowboys’ way of saying “I’m a-headed fer home. Catch me if ya can.” 😉
I thought that Tucson topped the list of looney “Art” with their ribbons of steel and heliports for dragonflies and adobe stonehenges, but I was wrong. If art is in the eye of the beholder, it is obvious that our great state is full of visually deficient characters passing themselves off as artists.
Is there a particular reason the statue on the Capital faces Northeast?
The statue turns in the wind, like a weather vane. The prevailing wind is from the south or southeast so, assuming that the statue keeps its back toward the wind, it probably faces north or northeast most often, particularly during the summer.