This morning my friend Jill and I attended the She Tempe Art Walk on Mill Avenue, hosted by Downtown Tempe Authority. I wasn’t one bit surprised to discover that this unique event was led by Julie Kent, Director of Placemaking for the DTA; when it comes to Tempe, Julie knows her stuff.
The art walk had a pretty cool twist: 11 local female artists showcasing their female-themed artwork on 14 news racks lining Mill Avenue.
The thing is, even if you missed today’s event, this particular art walk can be done by anyone, any day. Of course you won’t get the benefit of the artists explaining their work or a live violin duo accompanying you along the route, but you can certainly build-your-own-art walk to see the latest public art installation along Mill Avenue. A walking map is installed on each news rack to guide downtown residents, employees and visitors through their own walking tour (I’ve included the map at the end of this article).
Our She Tempe tour began on Mill & 4th Street, near Rula Bula Irish Pub and progressed along both sides of Mill Avenue, ending at the 6th Street Market.
According to the DTA, She Tempe is a public art project that was installed in September of 2017 and initiated by the Downtown Tempe Authority in collaboration with the the city’s Public Works Department. DTA commissioned 11 local female artists to create custom works of art, each featuring the artists’ portrayal of women, to be wrapped onto 14 news racks along Mill Avenue.
She Tempe is another project executed to further an existing objective of DTA to curate public art installations throughout Downtown Tempe. This project celebrates local creative talent, enhances the sense of place and helps create an engaging pedestrian experience in Downtown Tempe.
We heard from several of the artists, including Karolina Adams, Claire Joyce, Jenna Garcia, Tara Sharpe, and Felicia Penza who also graced us with a great rendition of Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight.” Each of them had unique stories about their art, what inspired them, and the techniques they use, which couldn’t always be seen in the two-dimensional wraps. For example, one artist did her entire piece in glitter. Another uses embroidery. On the other hand, the colors really popped; one artist never uses the color black or any earth tones. But the thing that unites all of the artwork is the female theme.
What’s great about Mill Avenue is it is dynamic, it never stays the same, from the food to the artwork, there is always something new. I would encourage you to take the walk yourself and experience She Tempe, along with all of Mill Avenue’s unique and colorful art.
See something you like? Learn more about each artist and their work by visiting their websites listed under their names on the map below.