Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and “Unity in our CommUNITY”
January is a special time for many people. It is the start of a new calendar year, ushering in fresh commitments to meaningful goals and positive perspectives. It is also a time to honor the legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
For more than a decade, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, City of Scottsdale – Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Community Celebrating Diversity (CCD), Scottsdale Unified School District, and other diversity organizations have worked collaboratively to celebrate King’s life and vision through various events around the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
The 2021 community celebration planning will go on with slight variations. For example, a virtual Community Celebrating Diversity/MLK “Living the Dream” Celebration is planned, and organizers hope to continue youth diversity scholarship awards to college-bound high school students.
The annual multicity Regional Unity Walk has transformed into the month-long, self-guided artistic enrichment Regional Unity ArtWalk 2021, spanning locations around the Valley. Scottsdale Arts will showcase specific exhibitions throughout the month of January with a special day to host Scottsdale’s ArtWalk on Saturday, January 16, 2021, from 11:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This day includes interactive art walks and the opportunity to visit Sam Mindrum-Logan’s courtyard mural at the city’s Community Design Studio and the Penjamo Yaqui mural near Vista Del Camino Community Center.
Also on January 16, the Scottsdale Human Relations Commission will host a Golden Rule Tree Planting and Commemoration at 11:45 a.m. at Civic Center Park near Robert Indiana’s “LOVE” sculpture and will join in with the open house at the Community Design Studio from noon – 4:00 p.m.
To develop Scottsdale’s list of signature art pieces for the exhibitions, Sharon Cini, Diversity & Inclusion Program manager for the city of Scottsdale, joined forces with Scottsdale Arts. Collaboratively, staff from Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), Scottsdale Public Art, and Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation, we identified public artworks, exhibitions, and other locations of interest in Scottsdale that showcase artists of color, celebrate diverse histories, and promote respect and empathy for all. Cini said the selected art “should initiate meaningful conversations and recognize important stepping stones of cultural history, civil rights, and equity in today’s world.”
Regionally, Phoenix, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, and Scottsdale have identified unique art locations in their respective cities that celebrate diversity, unity, and community. The cities have also identified local eateries near the art to make a fun day of it. An online digital mapping tool will tie the Valley-wide project together and make it easy for visitors to find the locations and descriptions of the works.
Here is a suggested route if you are feeling ambitious and want to hit all the locations in one day. Otherwise, take your time and visit each location over the month and ponder the unique significance and contribution of each work. Please note: many locations have varying hours depending on the day you visit, specifically if it is an indoor site. Visit the Regional Unity ArtWalk website for full details.
- Park at the garage for Scottsdale Civic Center Library (3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd.). Walk toward the entrance of the library and view Larry Kirkland’s Imagination Gives Us Wings just outside the entrance.
- Inside the library visit the WEST—Arizona Artists of Color exhibition on view at the Civic Center Public Gallery.
- Leave the library and head northwest to the iconic LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana in the Scottsdale Civic Center Park.
- Nearby you will also see the Golden Rule Tree, near the LOVE sculpture at Scottsdale Civic Center Park.
- Just south of the LOVE sculpture you’ll find the United States Marine Corps Mural on the stairs that lead to the lower level of the parking garage.
- Next, walk west from the LOVE sculpture toward Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts (7380 E. Second St.) to view a Community Mural of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., painted in 2019 and located outside the north doors of the Center. (Mural on view from January 14–20 only.)
- Also near the Center, look for the Scottsdale Arts pop-up store selling a variety of unity-related items, also available online.
- From the Center, walk south to Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA). Although the Museum is closed for the month of January, you can pick up a complimentary postcard featuring The Museum Heart by Arizona Poet Laureate Alberto Rios with artwork by Karla Elling.
- From SMoCA, retrace your steps to the north side of the Center then head east/northeast, crossing the park lawn between the library and City Hall, and follow 75th Street north to Indian School Road to the Community Design Studio (7506 E. Indian School Road) to view A Celebration of Diversity: The Lines that Connect by Sam Mindrum-Logan in the studio’s courtyard. (January 16 from noon – 4:00 p.m. only.)
- Return to your car and take a short drive down Miller Road to Vista Del Camino Community Center (7700 E. Roosevelt St., just east of Miller Road) to view the Yaqui Mural Project by Mario Martinez and the Yaqui Community in the center’s community room.
- While at the Vista Del Camino Community Center, take the opportunity to view Elder Portraits in the center’s conference room.
- Outside the community center, visit the Penjamo Gateway Street Art Mural located nearby.
If you are not comfortable visiting any of these locations in person, you can still experience art from the comfort of your home:
- Scottsdale Public Art Virtual Tour.
- Viewpoints: How We Understand Art exhibition from Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation
- ImageMakers: Photography from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale exhibition from Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation
Ending on a note of gratitude, we are thankful for the contributions of the artists and community teams who have created meaningful artwork in Scottsdale, making it a more vibrant city.
At Scottsdale Arts, we are so thankful to be part of this project and remain focused on how we can leverage our work in the arts to help move our community forward. We will continue to use our platform to lift up diverse perspectives, bring people together, and recognize that systemic change is critical for every citizen to be free from prejudice and injustice.