FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The Flagstaff Beautification and Public Arts Commission has chosen renowned Navajo artist, Redwing Ted Nez, known for his contemporary works depicting modern Navajo way of life, to paint the Centennial Walk Mural at the Flagstaff Visitor Center.
The Centennial Walk, an official Legacy Project, is a section of the Flagstaff Urban Trails System (FUTS) along the northern edge of the historic train depot property where the Flagstaff Visitor Center is located. To celebrate the Arizona Centennial (Feb. 14, 2012), 100 feet of this new FUTS section has been designated as the Centennial Walk commemorating the State of Arizona Centennial with a mural along the walkway, accurately depicting 100 years of Flagstaff history.
Earlier this year, the city of Flagstaff released a public call to artists to submit proposals for the creation of the mural. The Beautification and Public Art Commission evaluated several entries and ultimately selected Nez, whose vision for the mural stems from childhood memories of Flagstaff in the 1960s.
"My interest in this project goes back to my first visit to Flagstaff as a boy and my attachment to the area ever since," Nez wrote in his proposal. "Since those early memories, I have continued to visit Flagstaff through my work, my attendance at Northern Arizona University and as an established artist at the Museum of Northern Arizona."
With a background in traditional sand painting, Nez formally studied art at NAU in Flagstaff. His works have won numerous awards, including Best of Show at the Navajo Festival of Arts and Culture at MNA. He has illustrated several books on Native culture and even played the role of a Sioux warrior in the 1990 Academy Award winning film, Dances with Wolves.
"We are honored that Mr. Nez will be providing our residents and visitors with a permanent legacy of Flagstaff's first 100 years," said Flagstaff Mayor Sara Presler. "Mr. Nez's strong connection to Flagstaff's history and culture will be brought to life in this mural, which is a perfect way to celebrate Arizona's Centennial."
The Centennial Walk Mural will be completed in June where it will be officially unveiled at a ribbon cutting ceremony. The Centennial Walk is a collaborative effort between multiple City of Flagstaff departments and commissions, including the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Historic Preservation Office, Community Design and Redevelopment, Community Enrichment Services, Beautification and Public Art Commission, Community Development and Tourism Commission. These groups have combined efforts and resources to ensure that Flagstaff residents and visitors have a permanent reminder of Flagstaff's rich history.
For more information on the Arizona Centennial, visit www.arizona100.org.