Tucson Oddity: Animals are very low care down on his small 'farm'

The cost of animal feed is nonexistent at Phil Bushey's spread on the far east side. His plywood farm animals occasionally need a bit of paint, but that's about it.


On the south side of Tanque Verde Road, just east of Catalina Highway, five curved concrete forms coated with dirt and rocks stand in a circle.

Each of the trough-shaped pieces was cast directly from the Bonanza Wash (the sculpture's earth coating came directly off the bottom of the channel) and positioned to resemble a large vessel.

"You're seeing the impression of the actual wash," said Nancy Cole of the Pima County Transportation Department.

The $170,000, 20-foot-tall sculpture is the public art component of the ongoing Tanque Verde Road widening, scheduled for completion by fall.

The recently completed artwork is a tribute to water, which is the very reason a community developed there in the first place, says a narrative describing the sculpture's concept.

As part of the widening, that wash will be rerouted. Residents who live nearby were sad to see it go, so they wanted a sculpture that would remind them of the landscape, said Sally Krommes of the Tucson Pima Arts Council.

Thomas Sayre - an artist based in Raleigh, N.C., who has completed commissioned works in Boston, San Francisco and Hong Kong - laid rebar directly in the wash, then poured concrete to form the core of each piece. The finished pieces were lifted out with a crane and installed along Tanque Verde just outside The Lakes at Castle Rock, a gated subdivision.

Contact reporter Dale Quinn at dquinn@azstarnet.com or 573-4197.