Phoenix is Selected as One of Eight Cities for Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Art Challenge
Bloomberg Philanthropies has selected Phoenix for a $1 million Public Art Challenge grant. This unique grant program supports temporary public art projects that address important local civic issues in cities nationwide. Phoenix’s project, ¡Sombra! (Shade) will commission artists to create shading and cooling installations in response to extreme urban heat.

These works may include shade and cooling structures that create street-scale microclimates, installations that promote the protective beauty, comfort, and cooling power of hats and parasols, and other participatory arts experiences that provoke dialogue about rising temperatures and sustainable heat-mitigating tactics. The project will conclude with a family-friendly festival that will engage residents with these public art installations and feature activities for children, food, and music to celebrate and empower the community.

The city of Phoenix was named a finalist in June and is one of just eight winners from more than 150 project proposals received from cities in 40 U.S. states. The project will be developed over the next two years.

Miss America 2023 Announced as APS Electric Light Parade Grand Marshal
The city of Phoenix and Arizona Public Service (APS) are excited to announce Miss America 2023 Grace Stanke as grand marshal for the 36th Annual APS Electric Light Parade.

Stanke is the third Miss Wisconsin contestant to earn the title of Miss America. Stanke is spending her year traveling the country inspiring women and advocating for STEM careers while pursuing her degree in nuclear engineering. Her goal is to dispel myths about nuclear energy, while encouraging women everywhere to chase their goals. In April of 2023, she toured the Palo Verde Generating Station, operated by APS, and located about 45 miles west of downtown Phoenix. Palo Verde is the country’s largest power producer in the United States and all of it is 100% clean and carbon-free.

The 36th Annual APS Electric Light Parade takes place Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m., which just so happens to be World Nuclear Energy Day and is the perfect tie to this year’s parade theme, “It’s Electric!”

“It is an honor to have Miss America 2023 Grace Stanke join us for this year’s APS Electric Light Parade,” says Mayor Kate Gallego. “Grace is a tremendous role model for young people and is a great example of how hard work and dedication can lead to success. We are so proud to have her join us in celebrating this year’s parade.”

For more information about the APS Electric Light Parade, visit

Desert Ridge Marketplace Collaborates with ASU on “Cool Pavement Project” to Mitigate Heat
Desert Ridge Marketplace in Phoenix is poised to be the pioneering retail space in the Valley to tackle the escalating heat from concrete and asphalt through a specialized pavement coating. Vestar, the property owner, recently unveiled a groundbreaking collaboration with Arizona State University to layer 63,000 feet of this innovative coating across the marketplace’s northside roads, sidewalks, and parking areas.

Dubbed the “Cool Pavement Project,” this initiative at Desert Ridge Marketplace provides ASU researchers with a unique chance to delve into the implications of this coating on vast, commercial spaces.

Manufactured by GuardTop, the coating, known as CoolSeal, made its debut on numerous Phoenix residential streets in 2020. Distinguished from traditional asphalt and concrete, CoolSeal is designed to reflect sunlight rather than absorbing it. City-led research demonstrated that streets coated with CoolSeal recorded midday temperatures averaging 10.5 to 12 degrees cooler than their standard asphalt counterparts.

Based on the project’s outcome, Vestar hinted at potentially expanding the application of CoolSeal to other “heat vulnerable” properties in their portfolio. The firm presides over 21 retail properties throughout Arizona, besides Desert Ridge, totaling 30 million square feet of property across the western U.S.