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Some Whimsical Art in a Shopping Center
Art in a Shopping Plaza
Stopping by one of the new, but smaller, shopping plazas, the Oracle Crossings Shopping Center on N. Oracle Road in the Northwest Tucson town of Oro Valley recently, I encountered some interesting and whimsical sculptures amongst the stores. Even though I didn't have my camera with me, I did have my cellphone and was able to take some very good pictures of the art.
The sculptures were neither classical nor abstract, but were obviously meant to give shoppers a few moments of entertainment while passing by. Each sculpture was in its own area rather than gathered in a central area and each one seemed to have been designed to fit in with its immediate surroundings.
While large, with a variety of stores, this particular shopping center is mostly a place to shop. Unlike nearby malls, it is neither enclosed nor has space that can be used for other types of gatherings. Rather, it is a nice collection of larger stores and restaurants, conveniently built around a large parking lot. While it has more class than a roadside strip mall, it is still basically a place to shop and eat.
The art in the plaza is obviously what is known as public art- art that is designed with the intention of displaying it in an open public space where it can be viewed by the public at large.
Since ancient times public art has been common in cities. Until recently such art was generally limited to stone and metal sculptures constructed to commemorate or honor famous people - such as Lord Nelson's statute in Trafalgar Square in London or the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., or events such as the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor which commemorates the friendship between France and the American Colonies during the American Revolution.
Such traditional public art was usually commissioned and paid for by governments, wealthy patrons or monarchs.
While governments and wealthy patrons still commission and pay for such art a third group has emerged in recent times and that is private business. Now, private businesses have a long tradition of decorating their buildings with art with the motive being to enhance their prestige and/or attract customers to the business.
However, in recent years governments at all levels in the United States, have begun using their zoning power to require that developers include art in large construction projects as a condition of receiving government approval to build.
The government's role in this varies from simply stipulating that 1% or more of the construction cost be devoted to paying for including public art in the project to having the government play an active role in dictating the type of art the developer is to purchase and place in the project. The art in these pictures was probably commissioned and paid for by the builder as a condition of being allowed to go ahead with the project.
The Artist David Voisard
Accompanying each sculpture is a metal plate identifying the artist as David Voisard. In addition to the date, the nameplate also includes the URL for David Voisard's website.
Visiting David Voisard's website one learns that the artist has been in business as a sculpture in Tucson for over 25 years and serves a large clientele throughout the United States. He produces works of art for both individual collectors as well as public art for projects like the Oracle Crossings Shopping Center.
Moving to his portfolio page, one can see a sample both his individual works in wood and metal as well as some samples of his public art including his Reflections sculpture which sits in the Oracle Crossings Shopping Center.
Selfie of Man Taking Picture of His Reflection
Views of Sculpture of Man Taking Picture of His Reflection
A Couple of Close Ups
Father and Son Enjoying Pizza after a Game
A Grocery Shopper
© 2009 Chuck Nugent