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Grad student contributes to Tempe public art project

September 02, 2011

If you ever have walked through the Maple-Ash neighborhood, just west of the ASU Tempe campus (on your way to Casey Moore’s perhaps), you likely have been impressed by the public art, in particular the SRP irrigation standpipes adorned by glazed ceramic tiles. 

In 2005 residents decided to turn the unsightly, and often graffitied, standpipes into public works of art that depict historical stories and pictures of the neighborhood. This week local artist Nina Soloman is working to complete another of the standpipe art projects at the corner of 10th and Maple. The subject matter for the project was derived from a historical survey completed by ASU public history graduate student Nathan Hallam.  
During the summer of 2010 ASU public history graduate student Nathan Hallam worked for the City of Tempe Historic Preservation Office on a survey of houses in the Maple-Ash neighborhood built before 1941. After completing the survey, Hallam wrote a general history of Maple-Ash that included smaller detailed histories of the historic homes and a 1930 aerial photograph of the neighborhood, all of which will be incorporated into the neighborhood’s newest public art project this week.
The new standpipe artwork will depict noteworthy Maple-Ash houses and residents by lot and block as a “map” via artistic placement of Solomon’s signature glazed ceramic tiles on which she incorporates text and images. Hallam served as Solomon’s volunteer researcher and fact checker on the project.