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ACF Names 5 Winning Teams in the Water Public Art Challenge

The Arizona Community Foundation, Republic Media and Morrison Institute for Public Policy are pleased to announce the five winners in the Water Public Art Challenge, the third philanthropic prize competition offered under the New Arizona Prize banner.

The New Arizona Prize is aimed at creating the Arizona of tomorrow: a state where innovation thrives, ingenuity is supported, and the best thinking is harnessed to create long-term, positive solutions to persistent needs. While continuing to award grants, scholarships, and community loans that topped $67 million in its last fiscal year, the Arizona Community Foundation has committed to hosting philanthropic prize competitions designed to attract new thinking and innovation. Through these open, fair and transparent competitions, ACF, in partnership with Republic Media and the Morrison Institute for Public Policy, deploys a portion of its philanthropic resources to generate innovative solutions to our state’s challenges.

Sixteen teams met the August 30 deadline for submitting projects for consideration by their peers and a Technical/Cultural Advisory Committee of community leaders. Fourteen teams met the criteria to qualify as finalists. These finalists showcased their temporary public art projects at the Phoenix Art Museum this Wednesday. The top five projects, as selected by a seven-member Selection Committee, were named during the event and each will receive $50,000 to develop their project.

“We are continually amazed by the innovative approaches and ideas that come to light through the New Arizona Prize challenges, and the Water Public Art Challenge is no exception,” said ACF President & CEO Steve Seleznow. “In this latest challenge, local artists and art organizations have an opportunity to share their creative power with our community in a way that shows respect for our region’s cultural history and the continuing need to properly steward our water resources.”

Winners were judged on their ability to illustrate how their art project honors the legacy of the ancestral Sonoran Desert people (Huhugam), whose irrigation engineering and agricultural achievements laid the foundation for the very existence of life in the Valley of the Sun. Experts representing the arts sector and Native American cultures helped shape this challenge and many were active participants in the review process.

The five Water Public Art Challenge winners are:

City of Mesa | Water=Life: Making the Invisible Visible
Making the Invisible Visible

Adjacent to the Salt River and a Mesa wastewater reclamation plant, Riverview Park was once the site of 10+ Hohokam canals that nourished the ancestral Sonoran Desert people who built them. Through Making the Invisible Visible, a team of artists will collaborate with local communities through art-making/creative practice to make palpable the legacy of canals that ran there, creating an immersive pathway/multidisciplinary experience evoking the power of water in our lives, past, present, and future.

Scottsdale Arts
A Deeper Map

As part of its annual November 2019 Canal Convergence public art event, Scottsdale Public Art, a division of Scottsdale Arts, will debut A Deeper Map, a public art project illuminating the area’s ancient past using a map-based mobile app in concert with a web-based storytelling platform. By combining the ancient arts of cartography and storytelling with technology, current residents of the Valley will gain a fresh understanding of the deep human history of our area.

The Continuum
Su:dagi Haichu Agga (Waters Story)

Our installment celebrates the rich and diverse heritage of our Ancestors, incorporating artistic expression, education, history, language, and ancient techniques applicable for use today. The educational components will be paired beautifully with four large murals depicting events and actions related to items on display and the creation of the ancient canal system, a system still in use today. The technological achievements in agriculture and hydrology, will be celebrated accurately in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Vesich eth ve:m (All of Us Together)
We Are Still Here

Our team of Medio Completo artists, Audubon Arizona, and the Huhugam Heritage Center will weave together stories of Huhugam history and continued connection to the river, recent human migration leading to the growth of the Salt and Gila River Valley, and the birds and wildlife who depend on these rivers. This multi-disciplinary, experiential art event will allow us to have a community conversation about our complex history with these rivers, our water future, and one another.

Water Heritage Collective
Portal to the Past

A cut metal gate and fence adorned with a plethora of prehistoric, historic, and plant motifs will welcome visitors through the new entrance to Pueblo Grande Museum from Canalscape--the new trail along the historic Grand Canal. An accompanying smart phone app featuring informational and personal stories, which celebrate the uniqueness of the irrigation engineering and agricultural achievements of the Ancestral Sonoran Desert people, will engage and educate a new audience.

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