“Joining Hands” was the title of Chris Tanz’s 2011 project at the west entrance to the Julian Wash Greenway. She took her theme from Hohokam pottery and petroglyphs that express the idea of community and cooperation.
“Joining Hands” is the title of Chris Tanz’s 2011 project at the west entrance to the Julian Wash Greenway. She took her theme from Hohokam pottery and petroglyphs that express the idea of community and cooperation.

Artist and author Chris Tanz will definitely leave her mark on Pima County in the form of numerous pieces of public art. She will present an overview of local public art programs at 3:30 p.m. Thursday (April 7) at The Academy Village.

Much of the area’s public art has been made possible by the policy of dedicating 1 percent of the budget of public works to artistic enhancement.

Tanz will show videos of her own projects at various sites such as parks, roadways, and others. She makes pieces, she says, that are site-specific, relating to the history and nature of the particular places where they are located. Having lived in three countries as a child—Poland, France, and the United States—she is keenly aware of the impact of “place” on people.

If you have passed through the Tucson airport you may have noticed her beautiful aluminum panels depicting a cloudscape, called “Silver Lining.”

Chris Tanz
Chris Tanz

A sense of humor is evident in some of her works. “A Gneiss Bench to Sit On” is—what else?—a bench carved out of the metamorphic rock, and her soaring “Sand Trout” relates to a local legend about how native fish adapted as the rivers dried up.

Tanz came to the University of Arizona psychology department after earning a BA in history and literature at Harvard and a Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Chicago. She was always interested in public art, and about 25 years ago a friendship with an architect helped set her on the course that she has pursued successfully ever since.

She is a member of the Pima Arts Council, an organization focused on fostering the arts in the community.

Written by Betty Feinberg, Academy Village Volunteer

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Public Art Through the Eyes of an Artist: April 2016
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