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Scottsdale's Public Art

September 27, 2021

Scottsdale works hard to promote its artistic culture. The Scottsdale Public Art Program in particular does a fantastic job of promoting art in the community. They are succeeding at their goal of making the city a desirable place to live in, work in, and visit! Art and design is incorporated throughout the city in innovate and interesting ways. Here is a small guide to seeing Scottsdale's amazing public art! 

Art is everywhere in Scottsdale. You can see that quite clearly when you drive through the city- or when you look at the art map on the public art program website (screenshot provided below). 

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Picture from https://scottsdalepublicart.org/

The public art on display is incredibly diverse. Displays feature everything from rug runner and wallpaper tapestry to creative murals to sculptures of birds reading books. A lot of the art draws inspiration from the landscape. There is plenty of cacti art (for example, Garden of Evidence at the Scottsdale District 1 Police Station or Cactus Mirage at McDowell Mountain Ranch Park and Aquatics Center) as well as pieces inspired by local animal species (see Hummingbird Sanctuary on Drinkwater Boulevard or One-Eyed Jack in Old Town Scottsdale's Arts District). 

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One-Eyed Jack. Picture from https://scottsdalepublicart.org/work/one-eyed-jack/

There are plenty of realistic statues around town if you prefer art that more closely imitates life. For instance, there's Michael's Dream, which is a touching model of a father wishing for a cure for his daughter's cystic fibrosis; To Serve and Protect, which portrays a police officer protecting a young girl; and Vintage, which is a life-sized replication of a nude woman.

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Michael's Dream. Picture from https://scottsdalepublicart.org/work/michaels-dream/ 

There are also horses all over the city! Fans of classic literature will love the abstract sculpture of Don Quixote on his horse. Fans of cowboys and the Wild West will love Passing the Legacy, which pays tribute to the historic Pony Express, and Jack Knife, which shows a rider atop a bucking horse. There's also a bronze horse fountain and a fascinating plywood sculpture of a horse

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Jack Knife. Picture from https://scottsdalepublicart.org/work/jack-knife/ 

Perhaps one of the most famous public art pieces is the iconic Water Mark.  Water Mark is on the Indian Bend Wash and Scottsdale’s innovative flood control greenbelt. It is a roadside landmark on the north and an earthwork on the south. It is both beautiful and functional.

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Water Mark. Picture from https://scottsdalepublicart.org/work/water-mark/ 

Here is a video of Water Mark in action during a rain storm:


These are just a few of the dozens of amazing public art pieces scattered throughout Scottsdale. What is your favorite local piece of art? Share it with us in the comments!