Arizona ArtBeat: Sky Train Art

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The Sky Train at Sky Harbor Airport started operation on Monday, April 8th. Six art projects at the airport were added along with the new Sky Train. Find out about the new art work. Ed Lebow, the Public Arts Program Director for the City of Phoenix, will tell us about the art.

Ted Simons: Tonight's addition of Arizona ArtBeat takes us to Sky Harbor where half a dozen art installations debuted this week with the new sky rain. Director Ed Lobow is here to tell us about the installations. Good to have you here.

Ed Lobow: Glad to be here.

Ted Simons: we have five artists?

Ed Lobow: Five artists and teams and six installations at each new site and stop along the sky train.

Ted Simons: how long in development was this?

Ed Lobow: Ann Coe one of the artists likes to say her manager was pregnant when it started and now she has a five-year-old. .

Ted Simons: Is the art on the train, in the train, around the train?

Ed Lobow: It's the spaces leading up to the train, floors, huge terrazzo floors. If you get off on light-rail to cross the street, cross a bridge that entire bridge is design by an artist working with the design team of architects and engineers and all the rest. East economy lost, terminal 4 you have two major projects there.

Ted Simons: Let's look at some of the them. Starting with this one, is it Daniel Mayer?

Ed Lobow: Yes.

Ted Simons: Like a caligraphy.

Ed Lobow: Daniel is a print maker who teaches at ASU. He use as lot of fonts and in this case he wanted to scatter the floor with a path that led you from one part of the the train, the exit, over to the elevators and escalators. Scrawl you have there is limitless as the open and timeless as the open, sort of to draw upon the book of travel.

Ted Simons: Daniel Mayer also did I believe a couple of glass murals. Where are these?

Ed Lobow: He sure did. When you come off the sky train platform at terminal 4, you go down the escalators, there are two bridges that connect the train station to the terminal. He did these remarkable murals that were really began with prints of Arizona leaves on aluminum foil then he scaled these up and produced them in traditional stained glass technique for both bridges. They are beautiful and large. In fact you can see these from the drop-off area down below at terminal 4 on the southside.

Ted Simons: Basically those are leaf prints.

Ed Lobow: Those are leaf prints, very traditional but in a contemporary setting unlike any other.

Ted Simons: I would imagine the scope and size takes your breath away.

Ed Lobow: 115 feet long by nine feet high. You feel like you're a bug crawling on the leaf.

Ted Simons: What was this about?

Ed Lobow: A Daniel Martin Diaz did a remarkable floor at the pedestrian bridge from the 44th street station to the 44th street light-rail stop. This is a remarkable project. It's almost feet long, feet wide, and you can see from some of the pictures the kinds of hand craftsmanship that went into this. These were produced right here in Phoenix by Advance Terrazzo and some of their skilled craftsmen. Each floor took about 25 workers. This is an ancient technique. It dates back a couple thousand years that began with bits of marble from construction and built into cement. Now we have modern materials that are really beautiful.

Ted Simons: Absolutely gorgeous. Mandala like. Let's start with Fernandez. Well known as an artist.

Ed Lobow: we had a competition to select these artists five years ago. Fausto, Daniel mayor, Daniel Martin Diaz and Ann Coe became the artists to do the projects. Fausto because of his imagery got this project. He worked really beautifully with the design team to create a pattern that is based on tail plane wings.

Ted Simons: Absolutely gorgeous. Ann Coe, another very familiar artist to folks in the valley, and she did a floor as well?

Ed Lobow: She did a floor and it captures all of the whimsy that everybody knows Ann has. So it's essentially an aerial flyover of the Arizona landscape, which she loves. So you have these wiggling lines of tree or canals and rivers and takes off the topographic map graphics that you on which see.

Ted Simons: a floor as landscape.

Ed Lobow: The one thing I would point out, the east economy lot, an outdoor station, so they had to come up with an money investigative new product to make it durable in the outdoors.

Ted Simons: there was an international team that did this. This was -- was this a ceiling of clouds?

Ed Lobow: Yes. At the 44th street station on the ground floor, sort of the main entrance to that site. You have the international team of Mario MAREG, Michael PERKAI, working with Paul DEEK. They had done a great deal of reading about the ancient ocean that used to cover Arizona and were infatuated with the blueness of our sky and the landscape. They combined those two things into this grid that has the rippling like water in the middle.

Ted Simons: How much control, how much say did they have over what they wanted to do?

Ed Lobow: Very significant. They began withdrawings and worked with the architectural team to incorporate them into the explanation as the entire sky tray developed.

Ted Simons: The over all cost?

About $5.6 million and change out of a $1.5 billion project.

Ted Simons: Again, the money came from --

Ed Lobow: Percent for art program. That means a penny out of every buck involves artists and coming up with these kinds of enhancements.

Ted Simons: the response from the artists? Happy?

Ed Lobow: They are delighted, thrilled. The response from the public has been, this is wonderful work.

Ted Simons: congratulations on a success there. Can't wait to take a look. Thanks for joining us. That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

Ed Lebow:Public Arts Program Director, City of Phoenix;

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