South Phoenix culture and community to be celebrated in light rail art

When the light rail extension to south Phoenix is completed in 2024, passengers traveling down South Central Avenue will find sculptures, murals and other public art along the 5.5-mile route from downtown Phoenix to Baseline Road. 

The art along the extension will add to the dozens of visual projects that already adorn the light rail’s routes in Phoenix, Mesa and Tempe. But the new pieces will have a special focus on south Phoenix, celebrating the communities and individuals integral to its history.

South Phoenix-based artists Emily Costello (left), Martin Moreno (right) and fabricator Alejandro Gonzalez looks at the design of one of the 12-foot panels that will part of the Roeser Road light rail station, January 10, 2023, at E2 Innovations in Phoenix, Arizona.

Valley Metro’s art budget is 1% of the overall construction budget for the South Central Extension and Downtown Hub project. Artists commissioned for stations received $260,000, while artists commissioned for the traction power substation and signal buildings received $44,000. Emerging artists were recruited for the substation and signal buildings, said M.B. Finnerty, Valley Metro’s public art administrator.

The artists were chosen in 2017 by selection committees of community members. Here’s an early look at some of the projects that are underway.

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