Center City Award sculptures for Phoenix Community Alliance

The new sculptures designed and created for the Phoenix Community Alliance Center City Awards 2020 ©Joan Waters

Since 1993, Phoenix Community Alliance has honored men and women from the public, private, and non-profit sectors who have made outstanding contributions to advance the quality of life and further the renaissance of Central Phoenix.

Earlier in the year, Artlink announced a Call for Artists to reimagine and design the Center City Awards. From the designs submitted by three finalists (Elijah Bourke and Bobbie Zokaites), my proposal was chosen to be created and presented to this year’s honorees. The sculptures are welded steel with patinas, 20 x 6 x 6 inches.

The Center City Award sculpture takes its inspiration from the Palo Verde tree, a Sonoran desert native. Its bright green bark which allows photosynthesis is echoed in the vibrant green patinas on steel. Though we may think of a tree’s canopy as its predominant feature, the vast network of roots underground are what support the tree’s health and growth.
The award sculpture celebrates the energy, time and commitment to networking and developing the root connections to create and sustain our vibrant city.
The three sides of the sculpture’s base represent PCA’s core — activate — advocate — build.
The central green leaf is hand plasma-cut with branching lines that suggest the veins of leaves, the roots of the tree, and the sophisticated Hohokam canal system upon which our city is built.
The window is vision for the future and a better life.
The purple-hued leaf suggests the process of building. Its undulating edge traces the challenges of that process, acknowledging the ebb and flow of progress and pauses, and the patience to work with that process. The welded spiral petroglyph building block acknowledges the desert people and knowledge who have come before us.
On the back of the sculpture, leaf shapes are cut out of the panel to create a shadow screen. Intense heat from the torch makes rich ambers, violets and blues ‘bloom’ in the steel.
Within the base is an interactive element. Like a rain stick, it makes a soft sound when shaken. This celebrates rain, so important for life in the desert. The honorees are the rainmakers for our community.

It was an honor to be selected to design and create the new Center City Award sculpture. My hope is that the artistry and symbolism will make receiving the award even more meaningful and special, and will convey deep appreciation from our entire community.

The two awards —Center City Newcomer and Center City Champion— will be presented Thursday, December 17th at the PCA Annual Member Meeting, 11:30 am – 1:00pm.

New projects

Comm_FireDance_installFireDance No. 3, welded steel with patinas, heat coloring, enamel and clear powder coating
37 x 48 x 8 in., private residence, ©Joan Waters 2016

Comm_OnTheReef_finalOn the Reef, welded steel with patinas and clear powder coating, private commission, ©Joan Waters 2016

Comm_DesertSeasons_room smComm_DesertSeasons_smDesert Seasons, welded steel with patinas and clear powder coating, 44 x 96 x 4 in., corporate law office, ©Joan Waters 2016

Primero Ovo

JoanWaters_PrimeroOvo_8x6_300use© Joan Waters 2016, all rights reserved
This embellished egg was part of the Arc Degree 360 project sponsored by the David Wright House to benefit Artlink Phoenix. The ‪#‎ArcDegree360‬ eggs will be part of an art show and silent auction at the Artlink Phoenix Art d’Core Gala in Hance Park on March 10, 2016.(The list of names of the participating artists hasn’t been released yet.)

The mythical Phoenix is unique among birds. Born not from an egg, it instead rises from the ashes of fire and destruction to come into this world. Fiery, colorful and creative, this image of new life springing forth against the odds of the harsh desert environment has fueled the collective imagination of our young city that bears the same name.

As the community matures and grows deeper roots to sustain future growth, however, it undergoes a huge transformation. The firebird can no longer sustain itself on fire, rage and destruction, and it experiences a seismic shift of consciousness in order to survive and flourish.

Primero Ovo (First Egg) represents this massive transfiguration for the Phoenix. This will be the first time the Phoenix uses the egg as the vehicle to regenerate.

The nest, which supports and protects the egg, is patiently constructed of smaller twigs and branches. These are the elements—the cultural traditions, social institutions and community groups—which create the vision and support the future growth of our magnificent Phoenix.




Undivided Attention

Installation views of new sculptures and paintings at Chandler Center for the Arts. Twelve of the pieces are new “hybrids” which combine an acrylic painting with a welded, patinaed metal panel. The exhibition opens with a reception this Friday, October 7th, from 7-9 pm, and continues through November 19th. Hours are Monday-Friday 10 am-5 pm, and Saturday noon-4 pm.

Directory Cover Art / 2

"Tidepool Mambo", 27 x 29 x 5, welded steel with patinas, enamel

My second submission for the Hidden in the Hills Directory cover. I used “Tidepool Mambo”, rotated 90 degrees from its normal hanging position. This sculpture incorporates layers of steel with rust, patinas and some spray enamels, introducing some new, vibrant colors. Much as the studio tour invites visitors to explore the art and the area, the layers of steel create a sense of mystery which also invite the viewer in. (This was not selected for this year’s cover.)

Hidden in the Hills Cover Art

"Desert Light Shift", 23 x 20 x 3 in., welded steel with patinas

Each year the Sonoran Arts League has a call for art for the Directory cover.  It’s been a few years since I’ve submitted. This year, I created a sculpture with this in mind—inspired by the mystery and light of the desert near Cave Creek. “Desert Light Shift” is layers of steel, hand cut and shaped, with patinas and heat coloring. (The work was not selected for the cover.)