Best of Tucson '99

Best Mural

Aviation/Broadway Underpass

READERS' PICK: Steve Farley's photographic murals on the Broadway/Aviation underpass are one of the best things to happen to the central city in quite some time. The idea behind them was ingenious. The photos of strolling Tucsonans were snapped by a roving Congress Street photographer decades ago and stored away in the townsfolk's albums until Farley got wind of them. He chose his favorites from the dozens contributed by locals, and translated them into crisp, black-and-white tileworks. Walking along larger than life on the walls of the Broadway underpass, these denizens of the past evoke the days when people flocked to the downtown. The not-so-subtle subtext is that maybe, just maybe, that can happen again. And by the way, taxpayers, these fine artworks, following the one-percent for art rule, accounted for only a small amount of the money the city Transportation Department shelled out for the new underpass to accommodate the all-powerful automobile.

Best Public Art Commission

Broadway/Aviation Tile Murals

READERS' PICK: A lot of public art seems, well, just to confuse the public at first -- like "Sonora," the abstract but hardly obscure red sculpture in front of the downtown branch of the Tucson Public Library. It puzzled most folks -- and angered a few -- when it was first installed in the late-eighties. But the photographic panels that line the railroad bridge just west of the intersection of Broadway and Aviation Highway dazzled rather than puzzled, from day one. Our favorite is that crazy public bus on Aviation's eastern wall, which looks like it just might break free of its ceramic confines and send traffic from the underpass zig-zagging frantically out of the way. It's a wonderful contribution to the downtown scene.

Best Local Artist/Visual

Steve Farley

READERS' PICK: Find out more about photographer and graphic artist Steve Farley in our interview on page 22. (Also see Best Mural and Best Public Art Commission, page 33.)

Copyright © 1999 Tucson Weekly

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