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Monumental Airport Artwork Moving to New Location

by Public Relations | Published On: Dec 13, 2019 | Last Updated: 
The Phoenix Mural Will Rise to Sky Harbor’s Rental Car Center

PHOENIX – Mid-century modern Terminal 2 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is home to a unique and timeless artwork titled, The Phoenix. Welcoming travelers for more than fifty years, the 75-foot-wide mural by Paul Coze is considered the City’s first public art commission chosen through a public process.  Before the Terminal’s grand opening in 1962, five artists were invited to design a mural to grace the new ‘space-age’ lobby. Their drawings were displayed at the Phoenix Public Library where citizens could vote for their favorite. Paul Coze’s concept depicting the Valley of Sun’s past, present and future was selected.

Terminal 2_Paul Coze CenterSky Harbor continues to meet the dynamic growth of today’s commercial aviation industry. With the modernization and expansion of Terminal 3, the now undersized Terminal 2 is scheduled to close in early 2020. The iconic city landmark, The Phoenix, will be removed from the Terminal and relocated to Sky Harbor’s Rental Car Center sometime in 2021.

The complexity of the mural will make moving it no small feat. The Phoenix is a mixed-media 3-dimensional artwork consisting of three 25-foot-wide by 16-foot-high panels and includes 52 different materials. Fifteen uniquely shaped painted canvases are adhered to the wall that is embellished with non-traditional items such as plastics, shells, and semi-precious stones. There is even sand and soil collected from different locations around Arizona. 

Before the artwork can be safely moved, it must be protected and stabilized. A rigid, lightweight, truss-like structure known as a space frame will be mounted on the back of each of the three mural panels. This will reinforce the artwork allowing for transportation and installation in its new home at Sky Harbor’s Rental Car Center.

Terminal 2_Paul Coze 1970sThe Phoenix mural will enhance the diverse and growing art experience currently located throughout the Rental Car Center. Positioned above the newly remodeled central escalators, the mural will be accompanied by a museum display that will provide historic and interpretive information. In 2022, the Rental Car Center will be served by the Airport’s PHX Sky Train ® making the mural easily accessible to travelers and locals alike. Arizona’s most unique and treasured public-art piece will continue to welcome visitors from around the world to Phoenix.


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Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, America’s Friendliest Airport®, has an annual economic impact of more than $38 billion. Every day approximately 1,200 aircraft and more than 120,000 passengers arrive and depart at Sky Harbor. PHX Sky Harbor is funded with Airport revenue. No tax dollars are used to support the Airport.