For decades, the Salt River Project has purchased works of art that help tell the story of electricity and water.
Today, the Tempe-based utility has a collection of dozens of works that until recently were stored or placed in remote areas of the company.
“Without identifying signage or an educational component of the collection, many notable pieces have simply been overlooked. Treasures waiting to be rediscovered,” an SRP statement said.
“We have big names in the art world right now, and we had the foresight to commission art from them when they were rising stars,” said Ileen Snoddy, senior outreach representative for the PRS community.
“With such unique pieces, we realized we needed to do something more with the collection.”
SRP recently began a renovation of its Tempe administration building that included the purchase of new artwork, and Snoddy enlisted the help of James Burns, executive director of Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West.
The pair launched an effort to develop an inventory of SRP’s art collection. With the help of three students from Arizona State University, a catalog of the collection was created, according to the release.
“Under our guidance, the students examined the artworks, created reports on their condition, photographed them, researched the artists and discovered where their art is on display or has been exhibited in galleries around the world “said Snoddy.
In a three-phase effort, the team is first working to inventory all 142 rooms in the SRP Information Services building to have them appraised.
Then, according to the SRP, they will assess the art collection and organize an exhibition in the changing gallery space of the Heritage Center located in the administration building of the SRP.
Finally, SRP will share the art collection with the community in 2024.
Some highlights of the collection:
Most expensive parts (at time of purchase):
Three Paths to the Salt River by Eric Orr
Dream Cave of Time Regained by Michelle Stuart
Ansel Adams’ Mission
Avant-garde Chicano pop art:
The Howl of Luis Jimenez
Go to the Corn Dance by Frank Romero
Mystery in the Park by Carlos Alamarez
Art by Indigenous women:
The Hallway by Emmi Whitehorse
Salt River by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
Barrel Racing by Anne Coe
Light and Exhausted Light by Lisa Albuquerque