The South Mountain Library/Western Canal project creates a vital pedestrian link between a planned pedestrian bridge (completion in 2012) across the Western Canal at 24th St and the new South Mountain Library and Learning Resource Center at the South Mountain Community College. The first phase of this public art project, Passages, was developed in partnership with the Phoenix Library Department and South Mountain Community College. It includes landscaping, specially designed “Acoustic" seating outside the library entrance, and four trellises featuring excerpts of poetry by distinguished Arizona poet Alberto Rios.
The trellises are located along the path between the library and the site of the future bridge. Integrated into the trellis canopies, Rios's poetic couplets appear in cut-out words that cast shadows onto the path, allowing people to read the poems as they walk to and from the library. The artists extended this theme of reading and poetry to the plaza in front of the library by embedding letters in the concrete. Each letter of the alphabet is represented, and the artists added duplicates of ones that spell “desert," “stone," “mountain," and “water" as a game for visitors waiting outside for family and friends.
The letters are scattered at the base of three “Acoustic Chairs." The shapes of the chairs extend the library's floor pattern and echo the angular peaks of nearby South Mountain. The sides of the chairs are made of colored concrete embedded with steel letters. Audio speakers inside the chairs play recordings of poetry whenever someone sits and activates a motion sensor. Poet Alberto Ríos curated the audio collection of poems. The works reflect, both directly or indirectly, South Phoenix and the landscape of the area.
Architect- richärd + bauer,
Poetry Recording: Bill Shedd, KJZZ
Featured local Poets
Dick Bakken, Jefferson Carter, Jeanne E. Clark, Ralph Cordova, Cynthia Hogue, Will Inman, Sydney James, Susan L. Krevitsky Law, Jimmy Lo, Rick Noguchi, Fernando Pérez, David Ray, Christine Rhein, Iliana Rocha, Lois Roma-Deeley, Jana Russ, Peggy Shumaker, David Sullivan, and Olfelia Zepeda
Fabrication: Brian Stevenson, Hammercraft
Audio Production: Rob Pemberton and Parsons Audio
Audio Installation: Patrick Hoffman