At historic flour mill, aspiring artists give a nod to the future


Photo by Billy Hardiman

Public art contributor Connor Coffman was on hand for installation of his piece. At the
same time, workers (below) put finishing touches on artwork by Liz Graves and Rowdy

Two new pieces of public art have
gone up at the Hayden Flour Mill
as part of the new platFORM
project, an initiative developed jointly
by the cities of Tempe and Chandler,
with collaboration from Scottsdale
Public Art.
A grand opening for the project was
due to take place at the Mill Avenue
District’s Third Thursday on Sept. 19.
“The intention of the platFORM
project is to provide opportunities and
experiences to emerging student artists
in hopes of preparing them to qualify
for future public art projects while
also creating art for the community to
enjoy,” Tempe Public Art Coordinator
Maja Aurora said.
Each piece stays up for a year. Each
city involved manages its own projects.
Artist Connor Coffman and artist
team Liz Graves and Rowdy Durham
now have installed their art.
Coffman is an undergraduate
student majoring in Digital Culture at
Arizona State University. Graves and
Durham are students in the Masters of
Architecture program at ASU.
Coffman’s artwork, titled
Industrial Desert, was dropped onto
a metal platform on the corner of Rio
Salado Parkway and Mill Avenue.
“My motivation for this piece is
very basic and comes right out of the
backyard at my parents’ house—a
giant Saguaro cactus that was on the
property long before any structure
invaded its neighborhood,” Coffman
“To me the green represents the
positive flow of life through the cactus
that is both cool and warm, all at the
same time.”
Graves’ and Durham’s artwork, Los
Cactus Bailarines, was installed on a
concrete platform facing Mill Avenue.
Los Cactus Bailarines is an
abstraction of the traditional form of
the native Arizona saguaro cactus.
The sculptures also incorporate
the Native American tribal dance of
fertility by interacting with each other.



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