A 75ft (23m) wide 50-year-old mural will be moved from Terminal 2 to the Rental Car Center at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
The Phoenix, by Paul Coze, was the first public art commission in the city chosen through a public process. Before the Terminal’s grand opening in 1962, five artists were invited to design a mural to grace the new ‘space-age’ lobby. Their drawings were displayed at the Phoenix Public Library where citizens could vote for their favorite. Paul Coze’s concept, depicting the Valley of Sun’s past, present and future, was selected.
With the modernization and expansion of Terminal 3, the now undersized Terminal 2 is scheduled to close in early 2020. The iconic city landmark, The Phoenix, will be removed from the terminal and relocated to Sky Harbor’s Rental Car Center in 2021.
The complexity of the mural will make moving it no small feat, according to the airport. The Phoenix is a mixed-media 3D artwork consisting of three 25 x 16ft (7.6 x 4.8m) panels and includes 52 different materials. Fifteen uniquely shaped painted canvases are attached to the wall and embellished with non-traditional items such as plastics, shells, and semi-precious stones. The mural also features sand and soil collected from different locations around Arizona.
Before the artwork can be safely moved, it must be protected and stabilized. A rigid, lightweight, truss-like structure known as a space frame will be mounted on the back of each of the three mural panels. This will reinforce the artwork allowing for transportation and installation in its new home at Sky Harbor’s Rental Car Center.
Positioned above the newly remodeled central escalators, the mural will be accompanied by a museum display that will provide historic and interpretive information. In 2022, the Rental Car Center will be served by the Airport’s PHX Sky Train, making the mural easily accessible to travelers and locals alike.