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Change of art
Submitted by Kourtney Balsan on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 12:00am
Goodyear replaces banners on lightpoles with locals’ work
Out with the old and in with the new; Goodyear has replaced the banners featured on its light poles.
Spring training is over and that means the banners with logos of the Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds baseball teams are no longer needed. Instead, Goodyear is displaying art from local artists.
“Along with celebrating our local artists, the banners will be hung on 168 light poles, which communicates to motorists the commitment Goodyear has to the arts. This program demonstrates how art can really define the character of a community,” said Guylene Ozlanski, Goodyear arts and culture coordinator.
To mix things up, Goodyear initiated a Call to Artist competition in December 2016 when local artists submitted their works, Ozlanski said. Four winners were chosen from the eight artists who submitted at least three pieces each. The winners were each awarded $1,000.
“The banner project was a way to engage local Goodyear artists in a public art project. Through the project, we were able to provide an opportunity to have resident artists provide a visual interpretation of the city they call home,” Ozlanski said.
The only requirement to enter was to be a Goodyear resident, Ozlanski said, adding all forms of art were accepted from quilts to photographs. The winners were chosen by the Goodyear Arts and Culture Commission.
“The artwork is beautiful and it reflects imagery about the city of Goodyear,” Ozlanski said. “The Goodyear Arts & Culture Commission could not be more pleased with the success of the project.”
Debra Goley, Kim Wagner-Hemmes, Bonnie Lewis and Ryan Williams were the winning artists.
Goley created her piece depicting Goodyear’s plentiful cotton fields with acrylics, she said, adding that it was a process that took weeks as the picture underwent many changes before it was ready to present to the commission.
“As soon as the cotton season comes around, it just captures your eyes,” Goley said. “[When I see the banner displayed], I’ll feel as if I represented my city. It was a collaborative piece of art as I listened to what [residents] wanted and I put it together. I’m proud of that.”
One of the goals of the competition was for the artists to reach out to the community to find what residents think of when they think of the city of Goodyear and Goley did just that, she said.
“I polled the residents and asked them and I got back 193 responses and the top three responses that I had the most of was cotton, wildlife and recreation,” Goley said. “I think that’s wonderful that the community engaged with me in the process, so they got to choose what it is that they would like to see. That to me speaks about what art is and should be; an extension of what we all really have.”
Williams, director of the Conservatory of Arts and Design and teacher at Desert Edge High School in Goodyear, reached out to Goodyear residents in a different way, he said, adding that he created his owl artwork outside.
“My goal for this project was to document the energy that exists in the city of Goodyear, so my goal was to go out into the public. I brought enough supplies that if anybody in the public wanted to make art with me, I would allow them. One day, I did have a family come up and join me,” Williams said.
The owls were created after he took a run one morning and realized he always sees the birds in Goodyear, Williams said, adding that the piece started as Goodyear’s splash pad at Goodyear Community Park, but then was turned into the ‘hooting’ birds.
“On my free time, I’m a runner. I see those little burrow owls a lot, but I didn’t have a plan to make owls, it just came out of the design. In the background of the piece, you’ll see these triangular shapes and that was originally the awnings,” Williams said.
The banner competition was an example of how Goodyear is trying to be part of the ever-growing art movement in the West Valley, Williams said.
“It’s neat that the city is innovative and is recognizing that art is important,” Williams said. “It was an opportunity for me to be a part of the art movement — the slow art movement — that is happening in the West Valley, but it is a movement. I’m glad to be a part of it. I wanted to be connected to my community and this is a way I could be connected more.”
Having his art chosen to be displayed around the city means just as much to his students as it does for him, Williams said.
“I told my students this morning that my art was going to be featured on the banners in Goodyear and they clapped for me. I think it’s a sense of pride for my students and for me personally, I just like the challenge,” Williams said.
Lewis created her banner art featuring a sunrise, cactus and river using acrylic, she said.
“[The banners] are supposed to tell a story, but they’re not quite literal,” Lewis said. “I’ve lived in Goodyear all my life and that’s the way I remember Goodyear. With the weather, the fields and the river, it was more rural than it is today.”
Wagner-Hemmes used photography to capture her winning piece of the Estrella Star Tower in Goodyear.
“I like photography and I like to filter. I basically take something mundane that you might look at and not pay attention to, and use colors to really bring it alive,” Wagner-Hemmes said.
She asked her peers at Goodyear’s small business entrepreneur class to make a list of what they think of when they think of Goodyear, and a common theme was the tower, she said.
“I’ve always been drawn to the Star Tower,” Wagner-Hemmes said.
The banners will measure 72 inches tall and 30 inches wide and will be on display until October. The banners can be found on McDowell Road, Indian School Road, Estrella Parkway, Bullard Avenue, and Litchfield Road.
“Once you put [art] out into the public, you have to let it go, so I have no control of it anymore because it’s released and no longer mine. I hope that the public enjoys [the banner] — they enjoy the colors because you get a variety of four different artists and styles, different mediums, and I hope it reflects the culture and the whole community atmosphere that we’re trying to convey,” Williams said.
Kourtney Balsan can be reached at Kbalsan@westvalleyview.com.
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