Arizona Falls as Public Art

WaterWorks at Arizona Falls plays with the serious subjects of water and power to bring new life to the historic falls along the Arizona Canal. SRP and the Phoenix Arts Commission commissioned the project from the internationally-renowned team of public artists Mags Harries and Lajos Héder.

In collaboration with landscape architect Steve Martino, Harries and Héder sought to bring "into focus the role of water in the history of Phoenix and in the future of green-energy" and to explore "water as both a utilitarian commodity and as a beautiful transformative substance."

Built to accompany a new hydro-power plant, WaterWorks still uses the water that comes from high country 60 miles east of Arizona Falls through five dams and storage reservoirs. WaterWorks revels in and reveals the pre-industrial and industrial past to remind us how water and electrical power have been harnessed to fuel the rise of desert metropolitan cities.

Harries and Héder's 1992 Wall Cycle to Ocotillo along State Route 51 was one of the first large public art projects of the Phoenix Arts Commission. Their 2003 WaterWorks provides both a personal and communal place to ponder the gravity-fed journey of water, the power of water, and the power of this particular place.

Images

Audio

Experiencing Arizona Falls
Mags Harries explains the process and inspiration behind how she and her colleagues Lajos Héder and Steve Martino redesigned the Arizona Falls visitor area in 2003. Written by Mags Harries, Lajos Heder, and Amy T. Long; narrated by Mags Harries....
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