Tucson Artist Dirk Arnold Shares the Meaning and Inspiration Behind Sunshine Mile Breezeblocks Artwork on Broadway  

Jul 12, 2023 | Artist Spotlight, Arts Foundation News, Arts News, News, Press Release, Public Art


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Video produced by the Arts Foundation and Arielle Pagac of Artifact Video Production.,

Tucson Artist Dirk Arnold Shares the Meaning and Inspiration Behind Sunshine Mile Breezeblocks Artwork on Broadway  

TUCSON, AZ – Have you ever wondered about the meaning behind the new breezeblock artworks located along Broadway Road between Euclid Ave and Country Club Road? Dirk J. Arnold, the artist behind the public art project, walked us through sections of the 2-mile-long piece, sharing his inspiration and artistic process for developing the work. A 4.5-minute video, produced by the Arts Foundation and Arielle Pagac of Artifact Video Production, provides an insight from the artist’s words on how the midcentury architecture on the historic Sunshine Mile served as his primary inspiration.  

The Sunshine Mile Breezeblocks project is part of the Broadway Improvement Project, spanning over three decades of planning and implementation. Tucson’s Department of Transportation and Mobility has led the initiative to improve the infrastructure and safety of the corridor for pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers, residents, and business owners, with the most notable change underground, a 2.5-mile storm drains to prevent flooding during monsoon season.  

“Public Art makes what otherwise would be an ordinary road project more interesting,” expressed Dirk Arnold in the video. “We could just have infrastructure that is just infrastructure, but to add a little bit of something special to each project makes the community all that more interesting.”  

Stylized concrete breezeblocks are an important visual, functional, and textural element of midcentury modern design. The artist activated the project with an array of breezeblock iconography to define and unify the Sunshine Mile.   

The project consists of fifty breezeblock-shaped suns mounted on light poles in graduated colors to evoke the Tucson sunrise and sunset, 16 oversized breezeblocks of various designs along the sidewalks, and finally, to memorialize buildings demolished for the roadway project, one Salvage Wall of breezeblocks re-used. 

For more information, visit the Arts Foundation website: https://artsfoundtucson.org/   

The Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and funding agency with a mission to advance the artistic expression, civic participation, and equitable economic growth of our diverse communities. Through forward-thinking, accountable leadership, the Arts Foundation works to affect systemic change that fosters an accessible, diverse, inclusive, and equitable local arts community.  

As the designated local arts agency, the Arts Foundation provides arts and cultural development across Southern Arizona for individual working artists, artist collectives, ensembles, and nonprofit organizations through grant programs, professional development opportunities and public art management for the City of Tucson and Pima County.  

The work of the Arts Foundation is made possible through generous support from the City of Tucson, Pima County, Arizona Commission on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and individual donors. Our service area includes all counties and native sovereign nations South of the Gila River, including 372 miles along the US-Mexico international border in the South and along the 590 mile stretch of the Gila River, which flows west from the New Mexico border to the Colorado River.  

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