by City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture

We’ve been asked recently “what are those hands on the light poles??” For those who don’t already know, “We Call This Home” is a public art project by Arizona artist Ann Morton. Fabricated from aluminum and self-sealing Corten steel, the artwork is mounted on 30 light poles along the east side of the street, between Shea Boulevard and Bell Road.

“Public art is an investment in the creative life of our city, bringing artists and the community together to beautify our neighborhoods and add to the many reasons why Phoenix is a great place to live,” said city of Phoenix District 3 Councilwoman Debra Stark. “We Call This Home is a great example of how art can be both a way to build community, by letting residents take part directly in making art, and a means to help a neighborhood express its distinctive character. As the North 32 Street corridor has grown and developed over the last several years, business owners and community advocates have worked to make 32nd Street a go-to destination for shopping, dining and fun. This art builds on that energy and excitement, and it’s a wonderful addition to the neighborhood!”

To create the artwork, the artist collected more than 1,300 handprints from community residents. She worked with SmithCraft, a local sign and metal fabricator, to turn the handprints into metal silhouettes, which will be arranged in clusters and attached to the poles. Community members involved included students at Shea Middle School, Paradise Valley Community College, and families and seniors at the Shadow Mountain Senior Center.

“With the beginning of public art being woven into the fabric of our neighborhood, we are thrilled to see the continued evolution of our vibrant North 32nd neighborhood,” said Allison J Barnett, Managing Partner of North 32nd, Inc. “Ms. Morton beautifully crafted the design of this public art into something that is meaningful to the neighborhood for generations to come. Each hand represents an individual in our community, past and present. The hands were drawn at various community events demonstrating the engagement of our community in a collaborative setting. We look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with future artists!”

This project evolved from the North 32nd Street Corridor Community Visioning effort. It was commissioned by the Phoenix Office of Arts + Culture Public Art Program with percent-for-art funds from the Street Transportation Capital Improvement Program.