Arts, Culture & History

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Welcome to Tempe Arts & Culture! 

See a show, take a class, visit an exhibit or gallery in Tempe! Explore all of the creative and cultural experiences the city has to offer at Tempe Center for the Arts, Tempe History Museum and Edna Vihel Arts Center. The Arts & Culture Division develops and manages the city's arts and culture programs and services including Arts Engagement and Tempe Public Art. Tempe is dedicated to enriching the lives of the local and extended community by providing life-long engagement through accessible cultural, social, and educational experiences.

Tempe Arts & Culture Plan LinkArts&Culture2017-18GuideLINK

Arts & Culture in Tempe Guide PDF 

Arts & Culture Awards

Congratulations 2019 Tempe Arts & Culture Award Recipients!

These awards celebrate excellence in arts and culture by recognizing individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to arts and culture in Tempe.

Engaged Educator: Such Styles

Such Styles is a visual artist, educator and community service volunteer. He grew up in Tempe, graduated from Marcos de Niza High School, and has continued to choose Tempe as his home to raise his family. Such began mastering his ‘graffiti’ art skills in the early 1980s, and now his works can be found in permanent museum collections including the ASU Art Museum, and on walls throughout the valley. Such Styles is recognized as a pioneer in Arizona for his artistic spray paint applications resulting from 30-plus years of work in the field. His passion for community engagement has led him to share his artistic journey through K-12 art programs and community events. Currently, he is one of six teaching artists in the Studio Artists Program teaching 5th grade workshops on street art and design in Tempe Elementary Schools. Such is often found at community arts events across the valley giving demonstrations, contributing his artistic skills, exhibiting his creative works, and sharing stories about his life in the arts.

Creative Entrepreneur: Rodney Hu

Rodney Hu is the owner of Yucca Tap Room and an ardent supporter of local arts and creatives. After assuming ownership of Yucca Tap Room in Danelle Plaza from his father, Rodney has transitioned the 45-year-old establishment into a haven for musicians and artists. He has maintained his vision of providing a space for artists to explore, create, share, hone and showcase their talents by featuring live music every day of the week, and supporting community arts events at Danelle Plaza. Our community heritage owes much gratitude to people like Rodney whose small business fosters and perpetuates our shared story and the places that reflect our creative legacy.

Community Impact: Gayle Shanks & Bob Sommer (Changing Hands Bookstore)

45 years ago, Gayle Shanks and Bob Sommer established a book store that would later become an institution in the community.  Changing Hands is a cultural center that champions literary arts, and cooperates with local schools, businesses and leaders offering programs to foster creative writing in our youth and community. Changing Hands Bookstore also hosts more than 300 public events and workshops each year. Gayle and Bob can often be found in events and meetings around Tempe encouraging positive engagement and speaking out about issues that impact the community. Their work has had a lasting impact on what Tempe is today.

Cultural Connector: Evan Liggins

Evan Liggins is a creative visionary who has been a primary force in building and maintaining the local Tempe music scene for over a decade. Evan’s passion for grass-roots arts and music motivated him to participate in the founding of Tempe Art-a-Gogh-Gogh in 2010, a live event showcasing local music and art in Danelle Plaza. He has booked hundreds of local bands, artists, and DJs at these events, creating a bi-monthly showcase of who’s who in the local Tempe and Valley art and music scene. Evan has perfected the skills of envisioning innovative projects and creative bookings to create experiences uniquely ‘Tempe.’ His work inherently protects the local cultural heritage and cultivates the next generation of artists, musicians and creatives in Tempe.

Innovation: FABRIC (Angela Johnson & Sherri Barry)

The Fashion and Business Resource Innovation Center -also known as FABRIC- is a haven for anyone involved in the fashion industry. FABRIC's founders, Angela Johnson and Sherri Barry envisioned a center that would provide office space for new designers, workshops on how to enter the fashion business, event space for fashion shows, and even sewing classes. Angela and Sherri serve as mentors, networkers, collaborators and guides, supporting the aspirations of creative professionals. In less than three years, their resource center, located in downtown Tempe, has helped over 330 designers and small businesses.

Deputy Director of Arts & Culture

Ralph Remington


Administrative Assistant for Arts & Culture

Joy Higgins


Call to Artists - ADOT I-10 Pedestrian Bridge

Tempe Public Art Opportunity
Post Date:05/10/2019 3:25 PM

The City of Tempe invites artists to submit qualifications to create enhancements for two pedestrian bridges that will cross the I-10 connecting residents between the east and west side of Tempe along the freeway. ADOT (Arizona Department of Transportation) is currently working to design two bridges, one located at Alameda and one connecting the Western Canal. The ADOT aesthetics team has determined a standard bridge cage for these areas. One artist or artist team will be selected to work with the ADOT team on the aesthetics of both bridges with a focus on enhancing the pedestrian experience.

Some possible areas of artistic enhancements include: 

• Bridge spans

• Fence or railing treatments or attachments

• Truss finish treatments or attachments

• Pavement / walking surfaces (Approaches, ramps, stairs, bridge deck)

• Bridge barrier

Areas to receive ADOT enhanced rustication to match the corridor aesthetics

• Piers

• Bridge ramp abutments

• Bridge ramp approach walls

Art Element Considerations for Pedestrian Bridges:

1. Superstructure type and dimensions (clear width, span length, vertical clearance) will be set

by the engineers.

2. Treatments to the truss main members should be limited to finishes to the structural steel

(painted steel versus self-weathering steel) can be considered. This does not include

changes to steel type (i.e. stainless)

3. Additions to fencing, railing, or to the truss members will be allowed. Attachments will need

to be made permanent and installed with bridge construction. Weight and added wind loads

should be considered in all elements as this will impact member sizes. All fencing and railing

will be reviewed to meet specified safety regulations as provided by the design team.

4. Approach spans/walls and abutments are typically concrete and are open to aesthetic

elements such as rustication/formliner patterns.

5. Attachments to spans/walls and abutments can be considered.

6. Clear zones must be maintained (not impacted or encroached upon) and future

maintenance shall be considered for attachments or formliners to spans/walls and abutments.

7. Aesthetic treatment to approach sidewalk pavement, stairs, ramps to the bridges can be

considered and will be reviewed to meet specified safety regulations as provided by the design team.

8. High-mast safety lighting in proximity to the bridges and interior safety lighting should be

considered as a limiting factor when considering the use lighting as part of the aesthetic


All planned bridge-related enhancements are being consolidated for a bid package to be released in early 2020. This is a fast track project and will require the selected artist(s) to begin working immediately. The team will meet on a weekly or biweekly basis to determine design intentions and the selected artist(s) will be expected to join these meetings. The aesthetics team will be required to attend public meetings throughout the fall of 2019 and will be available to answer questions from applicants throughout the construction bid process. Full design and construction of the bridge is expected to begin in the fall of 2020 with completion in 2023.


This Call to Artists is open to a professional artist or artist team residing and eligible to work the United States. This is a fast track project that requires an artist or artist team with significant past experience working on highly complex design team projects. Artists must demonstrate that they have experience with creating construction drawings, fabrication and installation, and have knowledge of durable materials appropriate to the Sonoran Desert climate. Selected artists must be able to attend regularly scheduled meetings in Arizona with the ADOT aesthetics team throughout the design process, attend public meetings in Tempe as needed, and be available throughout the bid process to respond to requests for information.  

Accepted artist will be required by Arizona State Law HB 2008 to sign a statement verifying that they are lawfully present in the United States. City of Tempe employees, steering committee members, and their immediate family members are excluded from participating in this project.


Up to $400,000

The current budget covering all costs associated with design and construction of the public art elements within both of the pedestrian bridges is $400,000.The project budget must include all costs related to the artist’s design fees; construction document preparation; meeting attendance; the artwork’s final design, fabrication, transportation, delivery and installation costs; subcontractor and consultant fees including any engineers or fabricators; permit and license fees; General Liability and other insurance required by the City, travel if necessary, and all other costs associated with the art project. 


Wednesday May 29th midnight (11:59 PM) Mountain Standard Time

Pre-Submittal Session

Staff will be on hand to answer questions in an open house manner. This is an opportunity to discuss the project with Tempe Public Art and Tempe Transportation. If you have questions about the project, but are unable to attend a pre-submittal session contact Rebecca Blume Rothman 480-350-2827

  • May 21st 11am-1pm Tempe Center for the Arts Café area
  • TCA parking lot is located northwest of the Rio Salado Parkway and Hardy Drive intersection
  • Accessible parking is located via the main TCA driveway to the right as you enter.
  • There is a walking path on the north end of the parking lot. It is a short 5 minute walk to TCA. Should you wish to have complimentary transportation from the parking lot to the TCA, please call TCA Stage Door at (480) 350-5683 for assistance. Parking lot shuttles are available to take you to and from TCA the evenings of performances. 

How to Apply 

The entire submission must be completed on Submittable at . All requirements listed below must be met or the application will be removed from consideration. Specific proposals are not requested at this stage in the process and will not be accepted.   

  • Letter of interest: (Maximum 1 page) Describe why you are interested in this project and explain previous relevant experience that outlines your previous design team experience. If you are applying as a team, the letter should clearly describe the contribution of each collaborator.
  • Resume: (Maximum 2 pages) outline your recent experience and accomplishments as an artist as it relates to public art. If applying as a team, each member may submit a one page resume.
  • Digital Images: 6 images of previously completed work. Specific proposals will not be accepted.
  • Image List: (Maximum 2 pages) A separate document listing information about the 6 digital images. For each image submitted list the title, date, size, location, and budget with a thumbnail of the image. 

Artist Selection Process 

Applications will be pre-screened by City staff to ensure that the submissions meet the minimum qualifications as described in the eligibility section. An artist selection committee will review artists’ submissions and select 2-4 finalists. The finalists will be interviewed about their working style, methods of approach, and initial thoughts regarding this opportunity. Finalists will be given further information about the project prior to the interview. The steering committee is comprised of members from community stakeholders, arts professionals and associated city staff. The selected Artist will work with Tempe Transportation, ADOT, and Tempe Public Art throughout the project. 


Tempe Transportation is responsible for the design of signage and pavement markings as well as barricading and traffic control projects, maintaining streets, alleys, sidewalks, storm drains, traffic signals and street lights and providing bus, bike, pedestrian and light rail facilities. transportation

Tempe Public Art aspires to cultivate a unique community identity that advances Tempe as a vibrant and progressive destination. Tempe's diverse collection of permanent and temporary public art complements the natural and built environment through innovative place-making, installations and infrastructure enhancements. Tempe Public Art promotes artistic expression, bringing people together to strengthen Tempe's sense of community and place.

We are here to help, contact: Rebecca Blume Rothman, Director of Public Art 480-350-2827

This Call to Artist does not commit the city to enter into any agreement, to pay any costs incurred in the preparation of the proposal to this request or in subsequent negotiations, or to produce a contract for the project. The city reserves the right to reject any or all applications, reissue the Call to Artist, revise the project terms or procure any service by other means. While all reasonable care will be taken, the city is not responsible for loss of or damage to materials included with applications.


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