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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Local Artist Designs Public Art Project at South Mountain Entrance

A public art project commission by the City of Phoenix was recently completed at Ponderosa Stables, a horseback riding facility located at the entrance to South Mountain Park on Central Avenue.

The project’s artist is Kevin Berry, a local sculptor who’s lived in the South Mountain area for the last 20 years. He teamed with landscape architect Jason Harrington of e group to create several features designed to attract people to the stables and serve as an entryway into the park.

The primary feature is a 40-foot-wide entry gate supported by two 12-foot columns that are fabricated from welded steel pipe, plate and forged rebar. The columns are filled with indigenous rocks and emulate the cactus skeletons seen in the park’s desert setting. Both columns rotate when the gate panels open.

“The gate panels were inspired by a combination of the Sonoran Desert landscape along with the equestrian culture that you find within South Mountain, and especially there at Ponderosa Stables,” added Berry, who operates South Mountain Studios.

Additional features include a sitting area with 23 cast-concrete hay bales, a grazing region for the horses, and a “living” fence composed of horseshoe nail posts and twisted steel rope lined with ocotillo cactus. The 300-foot-long barrier fence runs parallel to the main entry road on South Central Avenue.

“All of the landscaping is also Sonoran Desert landscaping – we wanted to extend that same landscaping you see in the park into the landscape of the stables,” Berry stressed.

A veteran of several public art projects throughout the Valley, Berry has been involved with the Tributary Wall on Goldwater Boulevard near Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall, several bus shelters, and the Metro light rail stops at 24th Street and Washington/Jefferson Streets.

Ponderosa Stables was his first project in the South Mountain area.

“I’m really proud and honored that I was able to work on a project within my own community,” Berry said.

According to Elizabeth Grajales, public art project manager for the City of Phoenix, the Ponderosa Stables project was planned for about three years. It took a little more than year to fabricate and install all the pieces.

The project was funded by the City of Phoenix’s Water Services Department under the Percent for Arts program.

Ponderosa Stables is located at 10215 S. Central Ave.

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