Drive-by Beauty

Public art lifts our spirits


One of the special characteristics of our community is the wonderful artwork prominently on display — which many of us probably take for granted as we drive past every day.

Particularly striking is the sculpture adorning a length of Goldwater Boulevard just north of Indian School Road. “Tributary Wall,” created by Kevin Berry, features seven fish that range in length from nine feet to 18 feet. Made of steel, they have been treated with a natural, oxidized rust patina. The fish “swim” on a wall whose serpentine design symbolizes the flow of water, with the alternating arrangement of smooth and split-faced rock representing a water wave pattern.

“Horseshoe Falls” is the name of the sculpture on the south side of Indian School at Marshall Way in downtown Scottsdale. Artist Michael Maglich created this with 4,500 horseshoes, and he describes it as a “non-equestrian equestrian structure.” He sees it as symbolically dividing the galleries of mostly contemporary art of the Marshall Way/Stetson Drive area from those of more traditional Western art found in the Main Street area.

There’s an aesthetic significance to even the bus shelters along Indian School Road in downtown Scottsdale, which were also created by Michael Maglich. The roof of these shelters, based on the design of the shelter covering the ruins of Casa Grande, is supported by two slender posts rising from concrete standards and seems to float at night. “The benches and standards are modeled after historical markers,” explains Maglich. Quotes on each of the four sides of the support standards are all travel-related, and the sources range from the Bible to Jimi Hendrix’s “Cross-Town Traffic”: “All you do is slow me down and I got better things on the other side of town.”


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