Photo Courtesy of the City of Phoenix
The city of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture partnered with Fry’s Food Stores to commission local artist Kenneth Keene, an experienced muralist and former art educator, to create a mural in the new Fry’s Food Store, opening Oct. 5. The mural is featured on the wall near the main entrance of the store, located at 26300 N. Norterra Parkway.
Keene was chosen from among 18 local artists who applied for the $10,000 commission to paint the mural, which is 8’ tall x 24’ wide. “Ken had the ability to capture the landscape in a visually stunning and complex way that will make a huge impact on customers that enter the store,” says Art Project Manager for Fry’s Food Stores Bo Wachendorf. The mural is a celebration of the Sonoran Desert and the natural beauty of the state tree, the Palo Verde.
“Fry’s has become a leader in bolstering community connections between private development and the arts through mural commissions like this one,” says Carrie Brown, deputy director of the Office of Arts and Culture, which helped to coordinate the process Fry’s used to select the artist.
Kenneth Keene has painted murals around the Valley of the Sun for 35 years. He is a graduate of Arizona State University and a former art teacher in Glendale and Peoria. A professional artist, Keene’s major endeavor has been to create murals that enhance interior spaces while magnifying a specific or unique quality of the location.
He enjoys representing the beauty of nature and content that celebrates all life. “I believe that my success as an artist is dependent on the viewer’s ability to take something away that is completely their own,” says Keene.