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Themes & Selection Criteria

Art Themes

From March 1-May 1 a survey was open for public input on the themes and criteria below.


Through the process of a recent community survey, the community ha endorsed the following themes.


Native American Heritage

Gateway/entrance to the Village, art to represent native American heritage



Abundant local wildlife - floral or fauna

1000.2.709 Schuerman, camp in Big Park, building a tank 19-teens.jpg

Early Ranching / Farming

Western/cattle ranching or farming heritage

Cathedral Bike Romig.jpeg

Outdoor Recreation

Hiking, biking, horseback riding, birding and golfing


Materials and Requirements of the Work (download document with complete information for artist entries)

The Committee has set forth the following criteria:

  • All proposed art must be unique and original.

  • All art must respect the Village commitment to stewardship of our incomparable red rock scenery

  • Proposed art must exhibit or reflect the desired themes

  • Proposed art must incorporate thematic depth, to uplift and provoke thought

  • Proposed art must be appreciable over a range of viewing distances

  • Proposed art must be viewable from all sides (no “back”)

  • Proposed art must not encourage pedestrian access to the roundabout, for safety reasons

  • Proposed art must improve and not detract from the safety of the site

  • Proposed art must be of high quality in fabrication and finish

  • The artwork must be durable, requiring minimal maintenance, and fabricated of materials with a proven track record of viability in public artworks

  • We believe that the artwork should employ weathering steel sheet metal, as opposed to any foundry cast product, for affordability

  • The artwork must be contained within the rock walls in the roundabouts, placed on the 8’ diameter of the concrete pad provided by the Arizona Department of Transportation

  • Height may not exceed 20 feet.  However, it is the Committee’s desire to avoid any interference with travelers’ sight lines of our red rock scenery, which might suggest a lesser height.

  • Artwork must be appreciable from each of the four traffic directions at each roundabout.

  • Artwork should be constructed in a manner to discourage theft and/or vandalism.

  • Artwork requiring supply of water or electricity will not be considered.


Art will expand your brain and enrich your heart--art can uplift, provoke, soothe, entertain and educate us and is an important part of our lives.  Ultimately, art is trying to see things that other people don't see.  Art pushes boundaries — not only of what can be considered art, but also of our own capacity to truly see our surroundings.   Art can open up our senses in new ways, deepening our understanding of the world and our place in it.


All art exists for a reason and these reasons make up the functions of art.  The functions of art normally fall into three categories: physical, social, and personal. These categories can and often do overlap in any given piece of art. When you're ready to start thinking about these functions, here's how.



The physical functions of art are often the easiest to understand. Works of art that are created to perform some service have physical functions.

A Japanese raku bowl is a piece of art that performs a physical function in a tea ceremony. Conversely, a fur-covered teacup from the Dada movement has no physical function. Architecture, crafts such as welding and woodworking, interior design, and industrial design are all types of art that serve physical functions.



Art has a social function when it addresses aspects of (collective) life as opposed to one person's point of view or experience. Viewers can often relate in some way to social art and are sometimes even influenced by it.

Art that depicts social conditions performs social functions and often this art comes in the form of photography.


The Realists figured this out early in the 19th century. American photographer Dorothea Lange (1895–1965) along with many others often took pictures of people in conditions that are difficult to see and think about.

Sometimes the possession of specific pieces of art in a community can elevate that community's status. A stabile by American kinetic artist Alexander Calder (1898–1976), for example, can be a community treasure and point of pride.



The personal functions of art are often the most difficult to explain. There are many types of personal functions and these are highly subjective. Personal functions of art are not likely to be the same from person to person.


An artist may create a piece out of a need for self-expression or gratification. They might also or instead want to communicate a thought or point to the viewer. Sometimes an artist is only trying to provide an aesthetic experience, both for self and viewers. A piece might be meant to entertain, provoke thought, or even have no particular effect at all.


Personal function is vague for a reason. From artist to artist and viewer to viewer, one's experience with art is different. Knowing the background and behaviors of an artist helps when interpreting the personal function of their pieces.


Art may also serve the personal function of controlling its viewers, much like social art. It can also perform religious service or acknowledgment. Art has been used to attempt to exert magical control, change the seasons, and even acquire food. Some art brings order and peace, some creates chaos. There is virtually no limit to how art can be used.

Determining the Function of Art

The functions of art apply not only to the artist that created a piece but to you as the viewer. Your whole experience and understanding of a piece should contribute to the function you assign it, as well as everything you know about its context. Next time you are trying to understand a piece of art, try to remember these four points: (1) context and (2) personal, (3) social, and (4) physical functions. Remember that some art serves only one function and some all three (perhaps even more).


The Three Purposes of Art: Credits to Shelley Esaak

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