New art placed along the Tempe Streetcar route reflects a progressive urban and energetic look. To reflect on Tempe’s industrial past, artist Bobby Zokaites is implementing an abstract air handler perched on an overlook that leads riders to the Dorsey Lane and Apache Boulevard streetcar stop.
The art project is called “An Antonym for Tchotchke.” According to Zokaites, “the contemporary presentation of a forgotten item reminds viewers that Tempe is not only built around Arizona State University but also thrives due to the factories and other industries.”
Another art project designed by Zokaites for Tempe Streetcar is the “Superbloom.” The Superbloom consists of abstract desert flowers with bright and attractive colors mounted on antique light poles. It’s located at the Paseo Del Saber and Apache Boulevard streetcar station. Zokaites says he wanted to pay homage to the botany-based theme of buildings that make up ASU’s nearby Barrett Honors College.
For art entitled “Sign Remix,” Zokaites has designed a blend of historical signage that graces Apache Boulevard. Here, the artist uses contemporary materials. “Contemporary buildings blend with past generations of architecture,” Zokaites said.
Artists Simon Donovan and Ben Olmstead have designed artwork for five streetcar stops along with Mill and Ash avenues in Tempe. Here, the artists are using computer-driven technology that allows photographic images to become both silkscreened fused-glass and milled aluminum.
Valley Metro Art Administrator M.B. Finnerty said over the next couple of months Valley Metro hopes to see more artwork added to new Tempe Streetcar stations. With planning and construction underway since 2017, Tempe’s Streetcar line is heading for a 2021 opening. (www.valleymetro.org/project/tempe-streetcar)