Tucson International Airport has unveiled the "Spirit of Southern Arizona," a solar-powered, interactive sculpture.
The $30,000 sculpture was created by Fairfield Enterprises, headed by Southern Arizona-based public artist Stephen Fairfield, in collaboration with Tucson-based electrical engineer and solar-power advocate Patrick Marcus and Chicago-based designer Emily Taylor.
The swoopy sculpture's photovoltaic solar panels power arrays of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that deliver a constantly changing display of colored lights and patterns at night, controlled with preset programs as well as motion detectors.
Six circular medallions encircle the sculpture's base, representing Southern Arizona's past and present through images such as Tucson's first airplane flight in 1910, a Tohono O'odham woman harvesting saguaro fruit, and the University of Arizona's radio telescope at Kitt Peak.
Underlying the theme is "the history of aviation in Southern Arizona and the importance of solar energy to the future," airport management said.
The Arizona Historical Advisory Commission has designated the sculpture as an Arizona Centennial Legacy Project, awarded to long-lasting projects that portray a significant aspect of Arizona history.
The airport paid for the sculpture with capital funds set aside for public art.