Freeway Art

The original blog (posted on Aug. 12) disappeared while I was editing it. Here is the re-write.

The 17 freeway in Phoenix is an art gallery of sorts. We actually drove longer than we intended to, just to see the art on the exit ramps, around bridge abutments, and on the sound barriers along long, otherwise empty stretches.

cicle wallSome of the overpasses are encased in fencing, and the top is jagged, to match the mountains in the distance.

There are murals of big cactus plants, complete with red tile squares for flowers on the exit at Frank Lloyd Wright Road. There is a topographical gecko–green stucco with attached layers that give it a three dimensional look.prickly pear phoenix

There are geometric, repeating patterns on the walls–simple circles and lines, repeating incised patterns, triangles, wavy lines.

Why art on the freeway? Because art is public and meant to be enjoyed everywhere. Art inspires, calms, and often challenges. I’m sure there were a few council members who grumped at the cost. But it makes for a good impression of a Kollasch muralsprawling city, and it speeds up the time of the drive.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer and artist, who recently returned from vacation in Phoenix. She recommends the freeway, particularly from 7th St. to the 101 South as good viewing. See her work at (c) 2007 All rights reserved. Images: circle on entrance ramp, Quinn McDonald. Mural: Kristine Kollasch, I-17 and 7th St., Phoenix. Cactus Mural: members.