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Bike Church is a walk-in metal sculpture located in a community-created park and constructed from recycled bike parts arranged into geometric forms. The sculpture was commissioned through the Tucson Pima Arts Council Teaching Artist Grant. The artists led a group of high school students in the design and construction of the piece for Barrio Anita, a neighborhood in Tucson, Arizona with deep cultural roots.
Bike Church references the rich cycling culture found in Tucson and acts as a communal memorial to cyclists. The artwork is an inhabitable monument that draws from Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Native American iconography. The sculpture is composed of recycled bike parts and custom-designed ‘stained glass’ windows. The windows cast vibrant color onto the white structure during the day. At night, solar lights illuminate the building creating a glowing beacon in the landscape. Bike part chimes hang like organ pipes that visitors or the wind can play and fill the surrounding area with sound. The piece has become a landmark and gateway to the neighborhood.
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. Bike Church is an aggregate that the public has enlivened by constantly adding to the artwork and using it in new unexpected ways.
In the years since the sculpture was created, Bike Church has become a gateway to the neighborhood and a symbol of public art in Tucson. In 2014 a park was created around the sculpture through a mixture of public and private funds.
12' x 12' x 22'
powder coated steel, bicycle parts, acrylic, LED lighting, solar panel
Pima Association of Governments-Teaching Artist Grant, TPAC
Joe O'Connell and Blessing Hancock