Turning an eyesore into art - East Valley Tribune: News

Turning an eyesore into art

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Posted: Saturday, April 17, 2004 6:55 am | Updated: 4:38 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Some artists use canvas. These artists went a different way — irrigation pipe.

Residents of the Tempe neighborhood near Ninth Street and Maple Avenue will unveil a yearlong community effort 2 p.m. today — a collaborative art project called "The Windows of Maple-Ash."

The art features a concrete pipe residents said once was an eyesore. It now features ceramic tiles representing different aspects of the neighborhood.

There are 19 standpipes scattered throughout the neighborhood. Although they provide the irrigation to keep the grass and trees growing, the standpipes are easy targets for trash and graffiti.

"They were unsightly. They were always being painted over," Jenny Lucier of Maple Avenue said. "So instead of something so shabby, we made it look wonderful."

Lucier, along with several members of the Maple-Ash Neighborhood Association, applied for funds through the Tempe Neighborhood Grant Program about a year ago, and received $4,000 to make improvements.

The association then searched for artists and found Nina Solomon, a Phoenix artist who worked on a public art project at Tempe’s Corona del Sol High School.

Neighborhood resident and interior designer Julia Andrews helped design the art piece. She said it pays homage to the neighborhood’s eclectic architecture by replicating windows found on nearby houses, and the green leaves on the pipe symbolize the lush vegetation made possible by the irrigation.

Andrews said the neighbors all know each other, which made it easier to collaborate on the project.

"This is the Mayberry of the new millennium," she said.

About 60 community members have been working on the pipe since Tuesday, Lucier said, and the association will turn in another grant application at the end of the month to work on a pipe on the corner of 13th Street and Ash Avenue.

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