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This information was previously printed in the June 3, 2017, edition of the SanTan Sun News.



Public works of art and galleries enhance Chandler’s culture throughout the community

Chandler’s downtown continues to evolve with an eclectic mix of old and new businesses and restaurants calling it “home” and attracting visitors from all over the Valley. Wherever you find a vibrant, thriving downtown you also will find public art that reflects the people, cultural values, and artistic vitality of the community and its surroundings.   

For nearly 20 years, the Vision Gallery has served as a cultural beacon in downtown Chandler, fulfilling its mission to expand the public's experience with visual art and creating a space for local artists to display and sell their original works. Through public exhibitions, artist receptions, children’s art programs and more, the Vision Gallery adds a special dimension to Chandler’s quality of life and is a significant cultural resource to residents and visitors.

After many years located among the shops on the downtown square surrounding Dr. A.J. Chandler Park, the gallery moved to its current location in the Chandler City Hall complex in late 2010. Vision Gallery is a non-profit art gallery managed by the Chandler Cultural Foundation in association with the City’s Community Services Department.

“Placing an art gallery in City Hall shows that Chandler’s leaders are committed to the arts and making downtown a hotbed for culture in the southeast Valley,” said Chandler’s Visual Arts Coordinator Peter Bugg. “There are also public art pieces on display throughout the downtown area, in Chandler Libraries, other City facilities and neighborhood parks.”

Like many other communities, Chandler has a Percent for Art ordinance that sets aside one percent of limited capital improvement projects, primarily from new buildings and parks, for the acquisition, commission and installation of public art. There are more than 40 sculptures, paintings, ceramic objects and other artworks on view throughout the community. Some of the better-known public art pieces in Chandler include Turbulent Shade, Staring Into the Sun, Shortcut and Field of Dreams.

Staring Into the Sun at the Downtown Chandler LibraryTurbulent Shade consists of 1,890 perforated steel panels that pivot with the wind and serve as shade screening for City Hall offices. “This Ned Kahn piece covers most of the western face of the City Hall tower and is mesmerizing to watch on a breezy day or at night when it is colorfully lit,” Bugg said.

Staring Into the Sun by artist Kevin Berry (pictured at right) is a suspended metal sculpture in the rotunda of the Downtown Library.

Desert Breeze Park is home to the sculpture Shortcut, by artist Jane Decker, which depicts five children crossing a stream on a log.

Visitors to the Tumbleweed Recreation Center enjoy the mural, Field of Dreams, which uses old sports shoes and mixed media to represent Chandler’s agricultural roots and was created by Craig Cheply.

Many of the public artworks can be viewed while taking a short self-guided walking tour of the downtown area or by visiting specific parks and facilities. Some are inside the Chandler Center for the Arts, which is also home to a municipal art gallery curated by Vision Gallery and Center staff. A Chandler Art Map and an Interactive Art Tour can be accessed from chandleraz.gov/publicart.

A new addition to the Public Art program will be completed this fall. “We are searching for a local artist who will create an inspiring public art mural on the west side of the building that is home to the SanTan Brewing Company in downtown Chandler,” Bugg said. “As new development happens in the downtown area it will create more opportunities for unique public art, which will definitely create an exciting, hip vibe in the community. I’m looking forward to being a part of that artistic expansion.”

Currently, exhibitions at the Vision Gallery change every six to eight weeks and Bugg encourages everyone to visit often to see new displays, attend artist receptions or purchase unique gifts through the Gallery store. “We have jewelry, greeting cards and unique crafts for sale,” Bugg said. “A portion of the proceeds benefit our Vision Kidz youth art programs, which is cultivating the next generation of artists in our community.”

The Vision Gallery is located at 10 E. Chicago St., and it is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on most Saturdays (closed most holidays). The facility is available for private rentals. If you are interested in the Vision Gallery and its programs, please call 480-782-2695 or visit visiongallery.org.
 


Public art in Chandler is now this Bugg’s life  

When he joined the organization earlier this year, Chandler’s Visual Arts Coordinator Peter Bugg initially thought his new job might be too good to be true. “Everyone was so welcoming and enthusiastic about working for the City, and there was a lot of enthusiasm for the local art scene,” Bugg said. “Even though I have been in the Valley for 11 years, I was pleasantly surprised to find such strong community support for the arts. But, now I’m a believer.” 

Prior to joining the City of Chandler, Bugg served as curator of programming at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. As Chandler’s visual arts coordinator he manages the Vision Gallery, curates the gallery inside the Center for the Arts, oversees the Chandler Public Art program and serves as the liaison to the Chandler Arts Commission.

Vision gallery manager Peter BuggBugg came to the Valley in 2006 to study photography at Arizona State University. After earning a master of fine arts in 2010, he worked with bachelor of fine arts, art history, and museum studies students as the director for ASU’s student art galleries. “I was teaching and working with these students, helping them develop and fine tune their ideas through public art projects and exhibitions,” Bugg said. “It was a rewarding experience, and I see a similar opportunity to help local artists develop and exhibit their works through the Vision Gallery and elsewhere in Chandler.”

Developing the artistic talents of local artists in Chandler starts at an early age with the gallery’s free Vision Kidz program. Children and youth ages 6 to 16 can participate in workshops taught by professional artists using a variety of materials and techniques, such as watercolors, Chinese Calligraphy, print making, wire sculpture and more. Vision Kidz workshops are offered 26 Saturdays each year, with a limit of three classes per student. The schedule is released in the fall and classes fill quickly.

“Thanks to donations, grants and proceeds from art sales, we are able to offer Vision Kidz workshops at no charge and open them to a wider, more diverse audience,” Bugg said. “I get inspired by watching these kids tap into their natural talents, explore their creativity and expand their understanding of how art influences their lives. We hope these experiences stay with them for a lifetime.”