Follow this Driving Route for a Curated Tour of Outdoor Public Art in North Scottsdale
Although Scottsdale Arts facilities remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor public art is still an accessible and safe (when proper social distancing measures are followed) way to experience creativity and beauty. With that in mind, we’ve organized three driving tours of outdoor public art in Scottsdale, separated into three regions: north, central, and south.
We’re starting off this week with north Scottsdale. While the list below does not include all of the artworks in this region, it does feature most of the pieces that can be seen from the road or those located outside that can safely be viewed up close while social distancing and wearing masks or cloth face coverings.
For an interactive map of the all the public art in Scottsdale, visit ScottsdalePublicArt.org and scroll down to the map. While the map doesn’t show this exact route, it can be used as a guide or for creating your own tour.
Starting point: Intersection of Scottsdale Road and Thunderbird Road. Since this route is arranged in a loop, you can start at any point, but if you choose to start here, you’ll find One with the Eagle on the northeast corner of this intersection.
One with the Eagle by Pat Mathiesen — This traditional bronze figurative sculpture was donated to the city by the Scottsdale Western Art Association and originally placed at the entrance to the Scottsdale Airport. After 20 years at that location, a new roadway alignment in 2008 required it to be moved to its current spot. Learn more about the art and the artist.
Directions to the next artwork: Continue north on Scottsdale Road to the intersection with Greenway Hayden Loop. Turn east (right) on Greenway Hayden Loop and follow it northeast to Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard. At the intersection, turn east again (right) on Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard toward the Loop 101 freeway. Near the 101, stay left, as if you are going to head north on the 101, but remain in the right-hand lane of the two left-turning lanes. Notice the prickly pear designs along the overpass in this section; this is part of The Path Most Traveled by Carolyn Braaksma. Destination address: Loop 101 interchange at Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard.
The Path Most Traveled by Carolyn Braaksma — While the most prominent part of this massive artwork is located farther around the Shea Boulevard interchange, additional designs can be found at all the Loop 101 interchanges between Shea and Scottsdale Road. Learn more.
Directions: At the interchange, cross under the Loop 101 and curve north with the freeway traffic, but stay to the right to continue north on Pima Road instead of entering the freeway. Pima Road will curve east onto WestWorld Road, and you’ll see Horseworld at this intersection. Destination address: Intersection of Pima Road and Westworld Road.
Horseworld by Snell Johnson — This traditional bronze sculpture is the entrance to WestWorld. It shows three different types of horse: Arabian, thoroughbred, and quarter horse. The three horses also exhibit different behaviors: showing, racing, and cutting, respectively. Learn more.
Directions: Continue east on Westworld Road. Directly ahead you’ll see the large Impulsion artwork. Destination address: Intersection of Westworld Road and 94th Street.
Impulsion by Jeff Zischke — Standing 24 feet tall, Impulsion is a stylized horse sculpture created from stainless steel square tubing. While impressive during the day, it’s stunning at night as LEDs illuminate the steel tubing in soft pastels. Learn more.
Directions: Return west toward the Horseworld piece, then turn north (right) onto Pima Road. Cross Bell Road, then, as the road begins to curve northwest, turn southwest (left) onto Princess Drive. Cross under the Loop 101 (taking notice of lizard designs from The Path Most Traveled in the underpass) and continue west/southwest. Immediately after crossing under a small pedestrian bridge, turn north (right) into a parking lot for the Scottsdale Sports Complex. Approximate destination address: 8081 E. Princess Drive (but turn north off of Princess Drive, not south).
Sonoran Suite by Cliff Garten — Directly east of the parking area north of Princess Drive is this 10-foot-high, stylized viewing platform that applies sculpture as an aesthetic lens for viewing the park and the surrounding mountain vistas. Learn more.
Directions: Return to Princess Drive, turning west (right) from the parking lot onto the road and following it to the intersection with Hayden Road. Turn north (right) on Hayden Road and follow it for about three miles to Deer Valley Road (taking notice of more lizard designs from The Path Most Traveled in the underpass as you drive below the Loop 101 again). Turn west (left) onto Deer Valley Road, and follow it to Scottsdale Road. Turn north (right) onto Scottsdale Road, and follow it north to Silverstone Drive. Turn east (right) on Silverstone Drive and then south (right) into the parking lot for the Appaloosa Library. Destination address: 7377 E. Silverstone Drive.
LVIII by Bill Barrett — This abstract welded and brushed aluminum sculpture can be found in the parking lot, directly south of the library. Two additional public artworks are located inside the library, but it is currently closed to due to COVID-19. However, you can see Untitled by Roger Phillips in the courtyard east of the library. Learn more.
Directions: Return west along Silverstone Drive to Scottsdale Road. Turn north (right) on Scottsdale Road and you’ll see re currents on the east (right) side of the road, arching over a pedestrian bridge above Rawhide Wash. Destination address: Intersection of Scottsdale Road and Silverstone Drive.
re currents by Merge Conceptual Design (Franka Diehnelt and Claudia Reisenberger) — This sculptural bridge is made of rolled and twisted painted steel. It might appear simple, but the shape seems to change as you move around it. It’s worth looking for a parking spot nearby to walk over the bridge and fully experience the piece, while safely distancing, of course. Learn more.
Directions: Continue north from re currents on Scottsdale Road to the intersection with Pinnacle Peak Road. Turn east (right) onto Pinnacle Peak Road and follow it for about two miles to Pima Road. Destination Address: Intersection of Pinnacle Peak Road and Pima Road.
Alluvium by Brad Goldberg — This is one of the collection’s more utilitarian artworks. It’s an artist-designed drainage culvert on the north and south sides of Pinnacle Peak Road, just east of Pima Road. It includes a pedestrian underpass, sculptural railings, and a landscape feature. To get a good view, you’ll want to find a nearby parking spot and explore on foot while safely distancing. Learn more.
Directions: From Alluvium, drive north on Pima Road to the intersection with Happy Valley Road, then turn east (right). Continue east on Happy Valley Road to the intersection with Alma School Road, then turn north (left). Follow Alma School Road/Alma School Parkway north/northeast to the fire station located at 27777 N. Alma School Parkway. Turn east (right) at the fire station and follow the roadway east to the parking area for George “Doc” Cavalliere Park. Use this parking area to access two artworks: Mountain Climber and Sonoran Seed Pods. Destination address: Approximately 27777 N. Alma School Parkway.
Mountain Climber by Dale Wright — This welded steel sculpture is one of three artworks by Alan “Dale” Wright that were donated to the city. To view it, walk back to the fire station you passed, and you’ll see it hanging on the south-facing wall of building. Learn more.
Sonoran Seed Pods by Jeff Zischke — Created by the same mind behind Impulsion, Sonoran Seed Pods illustrates the stylistic variety of Zischke’s work. This series of metal sculptures based on seed pods from Sonoran Desert flora can be found along a 3/4-mile hiking trail that loops through the east end of the park. Even though it’s a short trail, make sure to take water, and we recommend wearing a mask in case you pass anyone along the narrow trail. Learn more.
Directions: Return to the road, turning south/southwest (left) onto Alma School Parkway. At the intersection with Happy Valley Road, turn west (right) and continue on to Pima Road, where you will turn south (left). Continue south on Pima Road for approximately 3.5 miles to Hualapai Drive. Turn west (right) onto Hualapai Drive and follow it to the Scottsdale Water Campus. Destination address: 8787 East Hualapai Drive.
Water to Water by Christine Tanz and Paul Edwards — This water-based sculptural installation uses sensors along the path to trigger sprinkling shower heads and trickling faucets, their plumbing visible behind the wall. Learn more.
Directions: Return to Pima Road and turn south (right). At Legacy Boulevard, turn east (left) and follow it to Thompson Peak Parkway, where you’ll turn south (right). Follow Thompson Peak Parkway south/southwest. As you approach the intersection with 100th Street, begin looking for Earth Wall, Living Wall on both sides of the road, immediately after crossing the large canal. Destination address: Intersection of Thompson Peak Parkway and 100th Street.
Earth Wall, Living Wall by Joan Baron — This rammed earth wall is one of the largest public artworks in the city’s collection. It features colorful trails of ceramic handprints along both sides of the road. Learn more.
Directions: Continue along Thompson Peak Parkway to the intersection with Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard. Turn northwest (right), and follow Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard northwest/west, under the Loop 101 (taking notice of the designs from The Path Most Traveled again, but from a different direction this time), to the intersection with Hayden Road. Turn southwest (left) onto Hayden Road and follow it to the roundabout at the intersection with Northsight Boulevard. Destination address: Intersection of Hayden Road and Northsight Boulevard.
Aspire by Simon Donovan and Ben Olmstead — Set in the roundabout, this sculpture of three stacked human figures reflects the human aspiration for flight. Made from stainless steel washers welded around an interior structure of steel tubing, the sculpture is illuminated at night (see top photo on this post). Learn more.
Directions: Continue southwest along Hayden Road to the intersection with Raintree Drive. Turn northwest (right) onto Raintree Drive and follow it to 78th Way. Turn northeast (right) onto 78th Way, and then make an almost immediate left, northwest, onto a cul de sac at the base of the Scottsdale Airport tower. Approximate destination address: 14980 N. 78th Way.
Hopi Deity by Doug Wiegel — This metal sculpture based on Native petroglyph designs is located at the base of the airport control tower. Learn more.
Directions: Now you are back near the starting spot for this route, but if you started at a different point, follow the succession of the following roads generally southwest as they wind along the perimeter of the airport: 78th Way, Acoma Drive, 76th Place, and Redfield Road. Just keep turning right or curving right and you’ll wind up at the beginning of the route. Destination address: Intersection of Thunderbird Road and Scottsdale Road.