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Carolyn Braaksma

The Path Most Traveled

Artist Carolyn Braaksma created and designed The Path Most Traveled as a carefully choreographed narrative of abstract and representational desert inspired motifs along six miles of the Pima Freeway/ Loop 101. Artwork saturates both the freeway sides and the neighborhood sides of the retention and noise abatement walls. The artistic elements along the Pima Freeway reduce the visual impact of walls that reach up to 50 feet in height at various points along the corridor. The art features on both the neighborhood and freeway sides of the walls also speak to the character of Scottsdale as a unique arts community.

Braaksma, out of Denver, was chosen through a public art competition as the project’s design team artist. In 1996, Braaksma and the project design team began conducting community workshops to gather input in order to develop an appropriate design concept for the community. A desert theme was created which includes cacti, desert flora and fauna, lizards and an abstracted Native American inspired motif. At certain places along the freeway, the walls reach nearly 50 feet high, as the road goes below grade. Rather than a barren concrete canyon, Scottsdale’s Pima Freeway is adorned with a beautiful and complex pattern featuring some 90 distinct images including prickly pear cacti that reach 40 feet in height and giant lizards 67 feet in length.

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