Artist Elizabeth Conner of Washington created colorful clusters of oversized icons comes from Old Town Scottsdale’s diverse past, including the easily recalled memories as well as some long forgotten details. The two sculptural formations are an interpretation of the Hispanic cultural art of the nicho—traditionally composed of flowers, leaves, designs and iconic forms—meant to stand as a physical testimony of loving remembrance. Connor’s “urban oases” are intimate settings for contemplation and inspiration for all ages.
Elizabeth Conner has long been fascinated by the links between natural and cultural histories of public places. Connor employs a collaborative method in bringing the arts, cultural, civic, business and residential community into the planning stages of her art. She conducted numerous interviews with area business owners in the Old Town tourist district in her research for the project. Each sculpture represents a business, cultural or social fact that she discovered. Examples of these are:
- Branding Iron: Old Town merchants, led by Malcolm White, adopted the slogan “The West’s Most Western Town” to market the booming area following World War II. George A. Cavalliere, father of the current owner of Cavalliere’s Blacksmith Shop designed a brand based on the slogan. The Scottsdale Jaycees adopted the TWMWT brand to promote the Parada Del Sol, the popular horse-drawn parade held annually in Old Town Scottsdale since it began as the Sunshine Festival in 1951.
- Vehicle Tire: Cotton grown in the Scottsdale area from 1913 through the 1940s was used to manufacture tires. Modeled on a vintage tire displayed in the nearby Historical Society Museum, the artist added an abstract tire tread that reflects the patterns on native baskets and pottery created by the Pima, Hohokam and Tohono-O’odham tribes.