Through various private-public partnerships and advocates for artistic design, multiple surprising aesthetic elements have been incorporated that operate primarily for functional purposes but serve as delightful reminders that while humanity loves utility, we also love beauty.
Currently, there are several murals in the downtown area, decorative benches, unique lighting elements, aesthetic choices in signage, a kugel fountain, and “iconic roadside architecture.”
Take a WALK with us as we showcase and describe public art elements of the Heritage District that you may have seen but not understood or may simply have missed in your jaunts around downtown Gilbert. Enjoy the “tour!”
LEGEND *****(Sidebar Info)*****
One can explore 28 distinct spots in downtown Gilbert that include water features, concrete etchings, murals, lights, and artistic furniture. For more detailed information and a full online tour, visit https://hdsouth.org/about-us/news/.
THE WATER TOWER: STOP 1
ART BENCHES: STOP 2
WESTERN POWERLINE TRAIL: STOP 3
LATERAL DELUGE: STOP 4
RESERVOIR GORGE AND DELIVERY FALLS: STOPS 5-6
MURALS: STOPS 7-16
MURALS: STOP 17
MURALS: STOP 18-19
MURALS: STOP 20-21
LIGHTING AND ETCHINGS: STOPS 22-24
ROADSIDE ARCHITECTURE: STOP 25
THEATRE AND ART: STOPS 26-27
HD SOUTH: STOP 28
STOP 2 *****(Art Bench)*****
Seattle has pigs, Norfolk has mermaids, neighboring Chandler has ostriches, and Gilbert has begun their collection of artfully decorated illuminated benches. Why benches? Gilbert is often described as one of the most comfortable communities in the country, thus comfortable chairs serve as an appropriate symbol of the town.
Stop 3 *****(Pics 3 & 4 - these are the same thing, so can be overlaid if needed)*****
Many different water elements dot the Downtown Gilbert landscape. There are several unique reminders of the significance of water that contribute to a thriving life in the desert.
The curved path running north of Park University and Heritage Market Place mimics waves and the blue glass speckled in the path mimics water.
Stop 4 *****(Pics 5 & 6)*****
This far-west water feature north of Park University is called Lateral Deluge.* It is a large water fountain mimicking the way we recycle water in the desert. It is pieced together like a series of canal delivery ditches spilling into one large pool. The metal is from old SRP well casings. The plaza here is in concentric circles to demonstrate the ripple effects of water when, say, a stone is tossed into it.
Stop 5 *****(Pic 7)*****
The middle water feature by Heritage Market Place is called Reservoir Gorge* and is intended to represent all the reservoirs in Arizona. The boulders here are salvaged from the canal and reutilized. The stonework here is incorporated from old SRP turnouts. Like Lateral Deluge, the plaza here is also in concentric circles mimicking ripples.
Stop 6 *****(No Pic)*****
Just east of Reservoir Gorge are two water features on either side of Gilbert Road called Delivery Falls* and are reminiscent of standpipes still seen sometimes in agricultural areas.
Stops 7-16 *****(Pics 10,11, Hd South Mural and/or Mural Wings - use whichever of these works best based on size, shape, etc.)*****
Murals are an engaging and vivid way to spark curiosity about a community’s priorities and its interests. They can inspire people to learn more about the community and its leaders. They can also awaken people to perspectives they perhaps haven’t had the opportunity yet to explore. There are at least 13 murals in Downtown Gilbert, and the number appears to be growing. Some of the murals depict historical scenes, others are a bit more contemporary.
Stops 18-19 *****(Pic 12 - can remove this image if we have too many)*****
Heading south on Gilbert Road, on the east side, there is this beautiful and thoughtful mural, found on the wall of Casa de Gilbert that faces north toward the Gilbert Chamber.
Stops 22-24 *****(Pic 14)*****
According to a document called the Transportation Improvements Project, the design team developed an aesthetic concept rooted in Gilbert’s history: “In honor of Gilbert’s agricultural history and the importance of the town’s cotton production to the state … the design team replicated the agricultural history through use of sandblasted concrete into the roadway and sidewalk. Giant rings of catenary lighting hover over the roadway to provide an enhanced visual effect.”
Stop 24 *****(Pic 15)*****
If you travel one street south to East Vaughn Avenue, you will discover another homage to Gilbert’s agricultural history where lines mimicking strands of hay are sandblasted into the sidewalk. Don’t forget that Gilbert was considered the hay-shipping capital of the world!
***** (This can go somewhere at the very bottom of the spread in small font) *****
*This was the name that the design team and the Town used during design and construction. While this name was never officially adopted by the Town Council, it does help to explain the story behind it. The name is meant to tell a story about water delivery in Arizona and its agricultural heritage.