BIKE CHURCH

Location

Tucson, AZ

Year

2009

Dimensions

12' x 12' x 22'

Media

powder-coated steel, bicycle parts, acrylic, LED lighting, solar panel

Client

Pima Association of Governments - Teaching Artist Grant, TPAC

A skeletal structure stands alone among naturally landscaped desert plants and rough walkways. The simple geometric framing of lines and arcs is infilled with a collage of bicycle parts to construct a spiritually ambiguous chapel, all painted a ghostly white. This uniformity is contrasted with brightly colored transparent medallions orbiting the upper level of the structure, each representing a story told by the 12 designer-fabricators. Solar-powered lighting illuminates the building at night as a glowing beacon in the landscape.

The artists led a group of high school students through the design and construction of the work for Barrio Anita, a historical neighborhood in Tucson, Arizona. As a shrine, Bike Church allows visitors to contribute to the sculpture by placing pictures or other mementos at the memorial. It has become a place for sorrow and joy; mourners regularly leave flowers for fallen cyclists and at least one couple has been married inside the piece. In the years since the artwork was created, Bike Church has become a gateway to the neighborhood and a symbol of public art in Tucson.