Hundreds of people gathered Saturday on Scottsdale Civic Center Mall to dedicate the newly installed sculpture of Winfield Scott.
The statue of Scottsdale’s founder by artist George-Ann Tognoni marks one of the most recent projects by the city’s Public Art Program.
Since its start in 1985, the program has completed about 70 projects.
The plan in the next five years is to almost double that, with 64 pieces in the works.
Many will spring up in new developments in downtown Scottsdale and improvements to streetscapes.
“We are proud of our public art program, which is growing by leaps and bounds,” said Mayor Mary Manross, who cut the ribbon during Saturday’s dedication. “It shows that we understand the value of arts in our life.”
The Public Art Program also will be presented as a model during this year’s American for the Arts Conference in Las Vegas in June.
The program has grown much in the last 20 years, when it started with a skeleton staff.
Now, it uses a range of volunteers and paid and unpaid interns to manage the collection.
“The community has responded to a range of projects,” said associate director Margaret Bruning. “People love the LOVE sculpture. The response from Maya was overwhelming. This will be the year of placemaking and community building.”
The LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana sits on Civic Center Mall.
Maya II, a pyramid of toys by Jarvis Rockwell, was installed as a temporary exhibit in the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.
In addition to more sculptures and other public art, program director Valerie Vadala Homer plans more temporary pieces for the community to inject a little excitement.
“Jarvis and Jell-O will be hard to beat,” she said, referring also to the “Scottsdale in Jell-O” piece that was on display for five days. “We’re always looking for the next thing.”
Homer said one option for the next year is a project by Anissa Mack, an artist known for “Pies for a Passerby.”
That project brought a little house to the plaza of the Brooklyn Public Library, where Mack baked pies from scratch and encouraged people to take a piece from the window.
Mack also organized “Something Borrowed, Something New,” a project featuring a daily bouquet toss by a bride in full veil and dress, open to the public in New York.
Homer said she also has contemplated holding a photo contest for the community, wherein residents take a photo with their favorite piece of public art.
Homer said public art is different from museums because it extends beyond walls.
“When it’s on a street, right there, you lose that intimidation factor,” she said.