Over the past two weeks, Scottsdale Public Art has been in the midst of an enormous job — moving 10 sculptures from the park area at Scottsdale Civic Center to make way for the city’s upcoming $27 million renovation project.
Construction work is anticipated to begin in October on a $27.3 million renovation of Scottsdale Civic Center, which was approved by voters in the 2019 bond election. Officials estimate the work to take 18 months.
Some works will be permanently moved to different city-owned locations while others will be stored at secure city facilities until they can be re-installed at the Civic Center following the renovations, which will add new performance spaces, among other features.
Additionally, two of the pieces will undergo restoration work before they are returned to the Civic Center. While some pieces are returning to Civic Center, they may be in new locations. The 1973 piece by Louise Nevelson, “Windows to the West” will no longer be by the fountain on the east side of City Hall — it will be relocated closer to the Center for the Performing Arts building.
The renovation project will rebuild portions of the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall as the community’s signature special event and public gathering space. As recommended by several city conducted plans and public outreach conducted since 2015, the improvements will create an “event ready” venue.
According to the project’s webpage, renovations will rebuild portions of the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall as the community’s signature special event and public gathering space. Additionally, the entry area in and out of Civic Center from Historic Old Town at Brown Avenue and Main Street requires better accessibility for ADA and pedestrians.
The area will also be receiving free public WiFi for a cost of $57,200.
“Holding a special event at the Civic Center requires an event producer to invest more prep time and money than at another comparable venues due to deficiencies. With few regional competitors for large events in a park-like outdoor setting, an updated public space will place Scottsdale in a competitive position to attract large-scale events, such as Super Bowl Live, a multi-day event leading up to Super Bowl 2023,” the city’s website states.
- Jose Bermudez’s Mountains and Rainbows (1976), above, will be sited near a lake at the new DC Ranch Park in north Scottsdale. This sculpture is no stranger to water; its original 1970s location was in a fountain at the Civic Center.
- Gary Slater’s Right-Angle Variations (1975) will be moved to a new soccer park under construction at Bell Road. Although it’s a static sculpture, the steel artwork’s overlapping right angles give it a dynamic sense of movement—perfect for an active sports park.
- Kenji Umeda’s Allurement of a Journey (1980) will be relocated to the grounds of the Arabian Library on McDowell Mountain Ranch Road. This Portuguese marble sculpture is already accustomed to the literary-minded, given its current location outside of the reading area at the Civic Center Library.
- Following repairs, George-Ann Tognoni’s The Yearlings (1985), will be reinstalled a few yards east of its current location at the Main Street entrance to the Civic Center. The beloved bronze sculpture of three foals is one of the city’s oldest equestrian artworks.
- Dale Wright’s Don Quixote (1968) will also be restored before it returns to its current location in the lagoon just southwest of Scottsdale City Hall. This welded steel sculpture of the windmill-chasing character is one of three sculptures by Wright in the city’s collection.
- After the 18-month construction project is complete, Louise Nevelson’s Windows to the West (1973) will return to the Civic Center, but in a spot closer to Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Formally titled Atmosphere and Environments XVIII, this iconic steel sculpture was commissioned, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, making Scottsdale the first small city to receive an endowment from the NEA’s Works of Art in Public Places program.
- George-Ann Tognoni’s Winfield Scott Memorial (2007) will be re-sited closer to the nearby Scottsdale Historical Museum. The bronze sculpture is based on a photograph of Scottsdale’s founders, Winfield and Helen Scott.
- Clyde “Ross” Morgan’s Mayor Herbert “Herb” Drinkwater and His Dog Sadie (2003) will also get a slightly newer Civic Center location near City Hall. The sculpture’s current location is almost directly over the boulevard named for the former Scottsdale mayor.
- Robert Winslow’s Freedom (1977) will be situated in the new children’s garden, just north of the Civic Center Library, after renovations are complete. The new location will be fitting for the abstract limestone piece, which was donated by the artist’s friends in fondness for their three children.
- Robert Indiana’s LOVE (1999) sculpture, will be installed near its current location. One of the most recognizable pieces in the city’s collection, LOVE is a popular photo op for both locals and tourists. LOVE will be moving in October and in storage for more than a year, so be sure to take your photos before that time.