EXTRA! EXTRA! Q&A with Rachel Slick and Timothy Schirack
By: Lauren Bays
EXTRA! EXTRA! / May 22, 2018

EXTRA! EXTRA! Q&A with Rachel Slick and Timothy Schirack

The Arts Foundation caught up with Rachel Slick and Timothy Schirack who are currently working on the Rio Vista Elementary, Safe Routes to School Project.



Q&A with Rachel Slick and Timothy Schirack

May 21, 2018

Photo credit: Rachel Slick and Timothy Schirack

Arts Foundation caught up with Rachel Slick and Timothy Schirack who are currently working on the Rio Vista Elementary, Safe Routes to School Project

AF: Is it common for the two of you collaborate on work? What about this project prompted you to collaborate instead of complete the project individually? 
RS/TS: We have been working together on public art for 18 years, and married for 15. While we do occasionally work separately on projects, each of us is available for support when needed. We are raising our three sons, aged 14, 8, and 7, in an Adobe Casita and Studio duplex in Tucson. Our boys have no idea that every family doesn’t build huge fiberglass reading trees, ocean tunnels, and brilliantly colored metal sculptures in their backyards, or that other families’ “vacations” don’t usually include scaffolding, scissor lifts, power tools and backhoes, or installing a large mural or metal sculpture. 

AF: What drew you to this project? 
RS/TS: As parents of three kids in the public school system, we are very invested in contributing to the education community of Tucson. The concept of providing stimulating artwork that both enhances a neighborhood and increases safety for pedestrians and schoolchildren is a very attractive opportunity for us.

Photo credits: Rachel Slick and Timothy Schirack

AF: Part of the objective of this project was a to “enhance neighborhood cohesion”. How does your work accomplish this?
RS/TS: Rather than provide one artwork that people would come to, we designed a trail of sculptures that travels with people walking any part of the one mile stretch of road that this project encompasses. The work provides a cohesive style for motorists passing more quickly, and invites closer connections for pedestrians. 

AF: How is this project in line (or how does it differ) from your body of work?
RS/TS: Every public art piece we do is unique and custom designed for the location and needs of the community. For projects on roadways, we often begin by mounting artwork on tall metal posts for better visibility to motorists. For this project, each post will be brightly colored and very wiggly. We think the students will love the vivacious personality this brings to the art.

Renderings via: Rachel Slick, Timothy Schirack, and the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona

AF: In addition to the Safe Routes to School sculptures, are there any other projects you’d like to share?
RS/TS: We are excited to invite everyone to the opening of DEEP TIME on May 26, 4-6 pm, a collaborative installation at The Gallery in the Library, Scottsdale, AZ Civic Center.
This project is a fanciful imagining of what the Sonoran Desert was like five million years ago when it was the bottom of a shallow inland sea.
The installation includes a 26’ tall kelp tower, a sea beast tunnel built by Timothy Schirack, sea serpents, mermaids, lighted jellyfish blooms, family stories of mermaids, coral sculptures, plankton and more contributed by Lex Gjurasic, and fascinating relics and Artifacts. The installation is kid friendly and free, running from May 26-August 25. 

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