January 8, 2021

Virtual Tour — 2021 Unity ArtWalk Features Scottsdale Public Artworks

For more than a decade, Scottsdale Arts has joined City of Scottsdale – Office of Diversity & InclusionCommunity Celebrating Diversity (CCD)Scottsdale Unified School District, and other diversity organizations to collaboratively celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his vision through various events around the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

This year, the annual multicity Regional Unity Walk has transformed into the month-long, self-guided artistic enrichment Regional Unity ArtWalk 2021, spanning locations around the Valley. Scottsdale Arts will showcase specific exhibitions throughout the month of January with a special day to host Scottsdale’s ArtWalk on Saturday, January 16, 2021, from 11:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

For those who prefer a virtual experience, Scottsdale Public Art has gathered information and images of many of the featured artworks. Enjoy them virtually below:

Location 1: 

Photo: Scottsdale Arts

Imagination Gives Us Wings, 1994, by Larry Kirkland

Location: Scottsdale Civic Center library entrance, 3839 E. Drinkwater Blvd. 

Located in the entrance of the Scottsdale Civic Center Library, Imagination Gives Us Wings is composed of three parts. An oculus in the form of a bird (a swift) is cut into the roof above. As the sun traces across the sky, the shadowed silhouette of the bird moves across the surfaces of the entryway, giving the impression of a bird flying. Below, a 20-foot-long gilded feather is suspended as if it has fallen from the bird’s wing.  

The feather appears to be floating toward a granite inkwell on the lower level of the library which is inscribed with a line of poetry by Emily Dickinson: “So many possibilities; let imagination give us wings.” 

Muhammad Ali, a human rights powerhouse known for his inspiring quotes as much as his athletic prowess, similarly said, “A man who has no imagination has no wings.” 

Location 2:  

Sebastiao Pereira, Pensive #2, 2006, a watercolor painting, is part of the WEST: Arizona Artists of Color exhibition at the Civic Center Public Gallery.

WESTArizona Artists of Color 

Location: On view at the Civic Center Public Gallery January 13 – March 2, 2021, inside Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 E. Drinkwater Blvd.

For library hours, visit

Virtual exhibition: 

WEST—Arizona Artists of Color is a juried group exhibition of artwork by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Persons of Color) Arizona artists who explore the reality of living in Arizona in the 21st Century. Scottsdale Arts is committed to enlarging the conversation of what artistic statements of “the West” can be beyond traditional depictions of western art. Juried in consultation with esteemed artist Joe Willie Smith, this exhibition of Arizona artists of color captures the West’s spirit through the artists’ bold creative expressions, showing their experience and what it’s like to live here now in this pivotal time. Their voices are an important part of Arizona’s past, present, and future. 

Location 3: 

Photo: Scottsdale Arts

LOVE, 1969–1999, by Robert Indiana

Location: Scottsdale Civic Center Park, located just northwest of Scottsdale Civic Center Library 

An iconic symbol from the 1970s and originally designed by Robert Indiana during the Vietnam War years, the LOVE image was integral to a generation of youth calling for peace and freedom and to Pop Art’s counterculture movement of the 20th Century. The image and message is an elegant reminder of a core human need and emotion. When same-sex marriage was legalized in Arizona, there was at least one same-sex marriage ceremony in front of the sculpture. 

Location 4:  

Photo: Scottsdale Arts

United States Marine Corps Mural, September 7, 2015 

Location: Staircase between the lower level of Scottsdale Civic Center Library and Scottsdale Civic Center Park, just off Drinkwater Boulevard, north of 2nd Street. 

During Marine Week Phoenix, September 10–13, 2015, Scottsdale received the honor of a mural painted by five Marines in early September amid triple-digit temperatures. The mural features Arizona’s arid mountainous landscape with Marine aircraft soaring through a cloudy, crisp blue sky. Also depicted is the Phoenix skyline and a foreground of Marine silhouettes among cacti. 

The mural also memorializes Marine and Scottsdale native Lance Cpl. Jacob Hug, a combat videographer, who died along with seven other Marines in a helicopter crash while the Corps was providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to Nepal. Among the Marine silhouettes, one is manning a camera on a tripod. 

The Marine artists who created the mural share the same military occupation as Hug. They include Sgt. Scott Roguska, who has traveled from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma to assist with ongoing maintenance.

Location 5:

The Museum Heart, 1999, by Alberto Rios

Location: Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), 7374 E. 2nd Street

Alberto Rios, the inaugural poet laureate of Arizona, was commissioned in 1999 to write a poem in celebration of the opening of the new Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA).

Rios said: “I know many poems about things in museums, but few about the museum itself. This writing, then, is a hopeful act of stark public purpose, a poem about museums, museums as themselves, these simple houses that hold and keep our lives, and into whose living rooms we welcome each other.”

The following is the text of the poem:

The Museum Heart

We, each of us, keep what we remember in our hearts.
We, all of us, keep what we remember in museums.
In this way, museums beat inside us.

What we have seen and been fed,
What we have smelled and then wanted,
What hair we have touched
And what hands have touched our own;
What fires have burned red,
What rifles-fire echoes still,
What blue mountains rise
On the horizon’s orange and gray spine;
What day-moon mornings, what June beetled evenings,
Simple heat moving, finally, into simple coolness,
A single long drink of good water,
My mother’s yes, your father’s chin.

What we remember,
What we have remembered to keep,
Where we put what we keep:
Sometimes in buildings we find
Pieces of the heart.
Sometimes in a heart we find
The shelter of a building.

Location 6: 

A Celebration of Diversity: The Lines that Connect, 1998 by Sam Mindrum-Logan 

Location: Community Design Studio Courtyard, 7506 E. Indian School Rd. 

Sam Mindrum-Logan’s mural A Celebration of Diversity: The Lines that Connect in the courtyard wall behind the city’s Community Design Studio emphasizes the diverse community and cultures living together in Arizona with melded timelines and a style that reflects connectedness and an ever-changing reality. Painted with an earth tone palette, the figures from different cultures and various decades are conjoined and disconnected in a whimsical manner.

Note: For an opportunity to see the mural in person, join Scottsdale’s Unity ArtWalk on January 16.

Location 7: 

Photo: Scottsdale Arts

Scottsdale Yaqui Mural Project, 1999, by Mario Martinez and the Yaqui Community 

Elder Portraits 

Vista Del Camino Community Center, 7700 E. Roosevelt St., Scottsdale 

Yaqui Mural Project and paintings inside the community room: 

The multi-paneled Yaqui mural project is a visual commemoration honoring the Yaqui people’s history in the city of Scottsdale. Thousands of Yaquis and many of their friends contributed to the project.

Photo: Scottsdale Arts

Three side paintings complete the mural. The Yaqui Deer Dancer represents the Yaquis’ most ancient traditions and religion. The church image represents the introduction of Catholicism by Jesuits in the early 1600s.

Photo: Scottsdale Arts

Elder Portraits inside the conference room: 

“The elder photographs honor our Yaqui ancestors. The photos represent only a few of the many Yaquis who lived in Scottsdale. They were and are and, therefore, we are. We carry their blood in our bodies. Furthermore, they expanded and enriched the spiritual, cultural, and economic possibilities of the Valley of the Sun. We owe them tremendously.” — Mario Martinez 

Location 8:

Penjamo Gateway Street Art Mural by Mario Martinez, Joan Baron, and the Yaqui Community 

Near Vista Del Camino Community Center, 7700 E. Roosevelt St.

Located directly across the street from the Vista Del Camino Community Center, the narrative of this mural is the Rio Yaqui flowing and traversing through the original towns, including Penjamo, Guadalupe, Old Pascua, and New Pascua. The Penjamo Gateway Beautification Project began as a way to celebrate and commemorate the significant contributions of the Pascua Yaqui community to the development of the Scottsdale community, to enhance the safety of the alleyway for the community, and to showcase the unique and beautiful Yaqui culture. A representation of the history of the Yaqui people in Scottsdale and the traditions that are the lifeblood of the community were foremost.  Conceptualized, designed, and completed by acclaimed Yaqui artist Mario Martinez, performed by acclaimed tile mosaicist and artist Joan Baron, and contributed to by Yaqui and Scottsdale community members, this is truly a beautiful project to date, though it remains halfway completed.

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