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Image Details

Tad Savinar

Historical Happenstance Markers

Included in the public art master planning for Scottsdale Road were “Historical Happenstance” artworks. To this end, pedestals were poured along with bus shelters and mile markers when the first segment of improvements to the southern end of Scottsdale Road was completed in 2010. The planning directed artworks to consider commemoration of lateral irrigation ditches and the impact of the canal system, architectural influences on the neighborhoods, automobile history, significant trees and landscape themes over the community’s history, past presence of sheep grazing and/or historical references to businesses and shopping centers amongst other ideas.

Artist Tad Savinar was interested in developing a series of works that were direct and intimate rather than authoritative. He saw an opportunity to reward the Scottsdale Road pedestrians with something that was tailored for their scale and built out of materials that were rich and detailed.

The artworks use text to let the broad, ever-changing, bustling, historical, right-of-way of Scottsdale Road speak with a voice- a voice shaped by the artist’s research, one-on-one interviews and comments gathered from citizens at public meetings. The artist modified the plain bare concrete pedestals and created six distinct roadside markers. Each of the six markers has a stainless steel disc etched with the memories, stories, and wishes of the citizens who live/work or have lived/worked along Scottsdale Road and who have borne witness to its floods, its cultures, its parades, its turkey farms and its romance.  Their stories are accompanied by small cast bronze objects which create a sub-textual partner for the words.

Each happenstance marker is focused around a different theme – a diverse set of views, each with Scottsdale Road at the center of the story. Together the markers illustrate that Scottsdale Road has not been merely a means to get to an end, but rather has been a spine, a backbone, a foundation for all who have come in contact.

Themes and Locations:
Farm to Market: East side of Scottsdale Road, just North of Roosevelt/Continental.
Better Mousetraps: West side of Scottsdale Road, 1/4 block North of Roosevelt/Continental.
Sand and Snow:  East side of Scottsdale Road, South corner of Granada Ave.
Home: East side of Scottsdale Road, South corner of Oak St.
How I Came To Be Here: West side of Scottsdale Road, Transit Shelter just South of Virginia Ave.
Water Has the Right-of-Way:  East side of Scottsdale Road, South corner of Earll Dr.

Scottsdale Road Streetscape Design Guidelines


Location1005 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85257, USA

ArtistTad Savinar

DatesCompleted 2013

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