Art on the go: Checking out Tempe Streetcar station art | Valley Metro

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.  

Art on the go: Checking out Tempe Streetcar art
Part of the new artwork built for Tempe Streetcar stations

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.  

Unique artwork will greet riders on  Tempe's streetcar
Crews add artwork to Paseo del Saber station

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.  

Art installation along Rural Road and Apache Boulevard
Crews are busy adding artwork to Rural Road and Apache Boulevard streetcar station

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.  


Computer-driven artwork for Mill and Ash Avenue streetcar stops
Artists Simon Donovan and Ben Olmstead work on computer-driven artwork

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. ( 


Mark Carlson
Mark Carlson
Rail Operations Communications Specialist
Mark Carlson is an Operations Communications Specialist with Valley Metro. He brings 40 years of newsroom experience to his position including working as a newsroom supervisor for 23 years with The Associated Press in Washington, D.C., and Phoenix. In addition to serving as a writer, editor, anchor, and reporter for radio stations in Phoenix and Los Angeles, he also worked as a television assignment editor and digital news writer and editor in Phoenix and Baltimore. A Phoenix native, Mark attended Maryvale High.