Happy Valley Bridge
Happy Valley Bridge
Peoria, AZ (2021)
Pedestrian bridge over Agua Fria River on Loop-303 near 118th Avenue
Consisted of 12 mosaic panels measuring 36” wide x 80” tall. These panels were designed by youth in the Peoria Unified School District. Fine Art & Creative environments enlarged the designs and then enhanced as needed to accommodate their new size.
Based on the designs of children from 4 different schools, each panel contains over 1,000 individual tile pieces. Panels were mounted in steel frames and then installed into niches in the cast concrete columns of the bridge.
These panels all face the pedestrian path side of the bridge. We coordinated with another company to produce printed panels that were installed to face the traffic sides of the columns.
The project took over a year to complete. We began in the fall of 2019, before Covid. Thankfully we were able to conduct in person workshops in each of the 4 elementary schools involved, as well as a professional development day with Peoria Unified School District teachers and staff, to create thousands of specifically placed handmade tiles.
The tile mural concepts came from students of Zuni Hills, Vistancia, Sunset Heights, and Lake Pleasant Elementary Schools in the Peoria Unified School District in Peoria, AZ who submitted drawings in a design competition. The administration chose the 12 selected designs that Fine Art & Creative Environments, LLC. transformed into 80” x 36” mosaic tile murals. These murals would incorporate tiles created by the selected students and many of their classmates to bring awareness and pride to the new bridge over the Agua Fria river, connecting communities. We facilitated 5 day-long workshops in which students from several grade levels created the tiles that would become the mosaic representations of the 12 chosen designs.
Once designs were selected, we took the original student designs and enlarged them 800% to see them as full-size. From there, we adjusted the designs as needed, getting a 'thumbs up' directly from the student designers. Our job was to tighten designs; choose materials of stone, commercial ceramic, and glass tiles; facilitate the creation of thousands of handmade tiles made specifically for each of the individual 12 panels; glaze and put together tile murals that fully represented the kids' drawings. We then assembled panels in the studio and coordinated with the engineers and contractors for installation.
Each of the 12 panels was completed in the studio of Fine Art & Creative Environments, LLC. Steel Frames held concrete board panels that were inset with tiles and grouted, leaving only the 8 holes that would be used for bolting the panels into place in the columns on the Happy Valley Parkway bridge crossing over the Aqua Fria River near 118th Ave. in Peoria, AZ. Panels weighed nearly 250 pounds complete. Using scaffolding, a bunch of strong guys, construction adhesive, and 8 expansion bolts per panel, our plan is that these panels will endure the weather, the wear, and the vibration of the bridge for many many years to come. Bolts were covered with tile and grout, completing the designs.