September 2017 Update
In the City of Tucson, transportation projects allot 1% of their contract amount to fund local, public art to be placed within the project limits. The Arts Foundation contracts with the City to manage the artist selection process for the art program. They implement a "call to artists" in collaboration with the funding department, which is open for 1 month. Once the "call" closes, the Arts Foundation creates a 7 person panel made up of community members, City and/or County representatives, and arts professionals. The panel then reviews all applicants and selects 3 finalists for interviews. From those finalists, one artist or artist team is selected for the project.
For the Grant Road Improvement Project Phase 2, Simon Donovan & Ben Olmstead were selected to complete artwork for the project.
The sculpture they created is called Unity and is comprised of five figures, three female, two male. Each one is approximately 10 feet tall. They stand in a circle facing outward, holding hands and leaning far forward. They would tumble forward if not for the cooperation, trust, and collective effort that is required in forming an unbroken ring. Thus the title "Unity".
The sculpture is made of hundreds of parallel, vertically aligned stainless steel plates, each held 1 inch apart. The result is a study of figures with a shifting perception of form as one moves around the sculpture. Additionally, it will be illuminated with amber colored LED lights at night.
Public Art Master Plan
A Public Art Master Plan was prepared as an additional planning element for the Grant Road Improvement Project and was coordinated with the Tucson/Pima Arts Council. The Public Art Master Plan will be used as a starting point for the integration of public art into the final design of the Grant Road improvements.
In each RTA project, there is a portion of the budget allocated for public art (1% of construction budget.) The artist is selected by a public art panel that consists of stakeholders that represent respective groups such as neighborhood, business, etc. After artist selection, the panel provides the artists with aesthetic ideas. The artist then provides concepts. These concepts are shown to the public at open houses for input and a final decision is made.