“Rug Runner” and “Wallpaper Tapestry” by Christine Lee

“Rug Runner” and “Wallpaper Tapestry” by Christine Lee are located in the recently opened Fire Station 603 in Scottsdale.

The City of Scottsdale’s Fire Station 603 opened at its new location on Indian Bend Road Dec. 3 and serves the communities and the resorts in the northern area of Indian Bend Wash. Along with the new digs came two new pieces of original public artworks, “Rug Runner” and “Wallpaper Tapestry,” by Tempe artist Christine Lee.

The two-part project was completed in early December and officially accessioned into the City of Scottsdale Permanent Art Collection Dec. 9. “Rug Runner” is a custom terrazzo floor, and “Wallpaper Tapestry” is a dichroic film window treatment.

“Christine took a thoughtful approach to the design, with the firefighters being the focus,” said Tanya Galin, public art coordinator for Scottsdale Public Art, which commissioned the project on behalf of the city. “She immersed herself into the project and took in as much information as she could, from visiting the fire stations and training facilities to riding along in the fire truck."

The new fire station is the second in Scottsdale to receive an artist-designed terrazzo floor. However, “Rug Runner,” at Fire Station 603, also extends outside of the building and features solar-charged luminescent chips that give off a soft glow after dark. Lee designed the custom terrazzo floor is conjunction with “Wallpaper Tapestry,” which can be found adjacent to the indoor portion of the terrazzo flooring.

During her research, Lee said she learned that the first responders who will work out of Fire Station 603 are like the “Swiss Army knife of people,” adapting to a variety of situations and interacting with the afflicted in both efficient and elegant ways.

 “I thank the members of Fire Station 603 and all of our first responders for the hard work and compassion they give to the strangers they encounter every day,” Lee said. “It was really eye opening to learn how their tools, equipment and protocol could protect the lives of others, as well as themselves, so I felt it was important to both symbolically and physically embed these elements into the artwork.”

Assistant Fire Chief Ryan Freeburg said the Scottsdale Fire Department was interested in a public art installation that would invite the community to and into the new fire station.

“The public art created by Christine can be enjoyed as the visitor approaches the front door of the fire station, and the art then transitions through the front door into the fire station,” Freeburg said. “This would allow the community an ‘outside in’ perspective to enjoy the public art and the fire station, funded through their tax dollars, in one visit.”

To learn more about this and other public art in Scottsdale, visit scottsdalepublicart.org.

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