Peas and carrots.
Salt and pepper.
Batman and Robin.
Art and bicycles?
Perhaps your mind doesn’t normally put those two together, but according to Scottsdale Public Art Manager Kevin Vaughan-Brubaker, public art and cycling make a great pair. You can try out this combo Sunday at the 12th annual Cycle the Arts, a collaboration between Scottsdale Public Art and the Scottsdale Transportation Department.
“Cycle the Arts is a great way to discover art in the community and learn more about Scottsdale,” said Vaughan-Brubaker. “A lot of times, riders say they didn’t know the art was part of the city’s public art collection.”
Designed for bike riders and art enthusiasts of all experience levels, volunteers lead small groups of cyclists on a public art tour around the city. Three route lengths are offered ranging from 5.6 to 15 miles to accommodate different ages and levels of cycling experience.
The ride routes and art featured are different every year, so the event is fun for newbies and veteran Cycle the Arts riders alike.
“This year includes two temporary installations, 1937 by Joseph Bates, and Polygonum 2.0 by Tom Dekyvere,” said Vaughan-Brubaker.
1937 is part of the platFORM project, a multi-city initiative that offers Arizona college students an opportunity to temporarily place their art in public spaces. Scottsdale installed two platFORM spaces, one at Oak Street and the other at Continental Drive/Roosevelt Street as part of the Scottsdale Road streetscaping renovation south of Downtown.
Polygonum 2.0 was part of Canal Convergence, a four-day event in February that included nine installations on the Arizona Canal combining art, water and light.
“Polygonum 2.0 is made up of twine, metal and lights and rises from the canal up over Marshall Way Bridge, one of the stops on our route this year,” said Vaughan-Brubaker.
At many of the tour stops, artists will be available in person or by Facetime to discuss their art and answer riders’ questions. Scottsdale Public Art staff and advisory board members will also be on hand to talk to riders.
Not only is the event a great way to learn about art, but it’s also a great way to learn about biking around Scottsdale.
Susan Conklu, senior transportation planner with the city of Scottsdale, helps plan Cycle the Arts with Vaughan-Brubaker each year. She focuses on making the event educational and enjoyable for bike riders of all levels.
“Everyone may not be experienced in riding on streets and with groups of people,” said Conklu. “We start the ride with a brief bike skills and safety session and then break riders into small groups to help encourage better riding skills and to make it easier for riders to communicate with each other.”
Like last year, the tour will begin and end at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, 3830 N. Marshall Way. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. with small groups of riders departing at 9 a.m. A volunteer ride leader will guide each group along the route. Please note that all riders must have helmets.
Participants will also receive free passes to Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and a coupon for $3 off passes to Museum of the West.
If you have any questions, please contact Susan Conklu at 480-312-2308 or Andrea Teutli, events and temporary installations manager for Scottsdale Public Art, at 480-874-4636.