Sunflowers, Orchids, and Birds

These sunflowers are on the back of monOrchid, a gallery I’ve written about before in downtown Phoenix. They are done by a new-to-me muralist, Isaac N. Caruso. He just recently graduated from Northern Arizona University with a BFA in Visual Communication and he is making his presence known in Phoenix now.

You can see the grasshopper from my last post here.

I could only photograph from outside the fence so the chainlinks are smudging up some of these photos.

This mural honors, of course, the Valley of the Sunflowers, a couple of blocks away which is now in its final harvest (you can see a slideshow of the harvest here).

The reason that this mural is currently fenced in is because this burned out historic building is being restored.

I went around to another side of monOrchid that I had photographed before and there was Isaac N. Caruso himself putting some finishing touches on the orchid.

He also painted the bird for the brand new Songbird Coffee & Tea House, which is in the front of monOrchid.

(This is Songbird’s photo above.)

I think we are going to be seeing a lot more of Isaac on the walls of Phoenix.

*Update: I guess Isaac liked the photos because he is now using the second one from the bottom as his profile pic on his Facebook page. Cool.



This is the last growing season at the Valley of the Sunflowers.

The bulldozers and cranes are encroaching and soon this former dirt field that became gloriously yellow will be a construction site for the future Phoenix Biomedical Campus and the Arizona Cancer Center, already in progress the next lot over. Fortunately, for those of us who loved seeing the sunflowers, there are plenty more vacant lots in downtown Phoenix and the sunflowers have been such a hit that they will probably be back a few blocks away.

The sunflowers have been an A.R.T.S. (Adaptive Reuse of Temporary Space) project sponsored by the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation in collaboration with Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Intel, Bioscience High School, and others.

Harvest Time

Well, I was a week too late to see all the sunflowers in bloom at Valley of the Sunflowers (which I have blogged about 1, 2, 3 other times since September) because they had started to harvest them 2 weeks ago. Today the rest will be harvested to be made into biodiesel fuel and soon the field will be back to brown and they will start the cycle all over again…one more time, in February. After those flowers are harvested, building is scheduled to begin in the formerly empty field. But you will still be able to see, from these photos, how quickly the sunflowers grew and how beautiful the field was…briefly.

And, yeah, their signs got tagged 😦

There have been a lot of articles in the local media in the past couple of weeks. You can also keep up with this truly awesome project in real time on their Facebook page.

They’re gorgeous!

Some bees are going to be very unhappy when the flowers are all harvested.

Bye, sunflowers…

From Brown to Green to…

Yellow! Well, not quite yet. Yes, this is another update on Valley of the Sunflowers, my favorite local project right now, in the heart of downtown Phoenix. You can see my September shots, when the field was being readied for planting, and my October shots, soon after the seeds were sown, and compare them with my November shots, the other day, right here.

Look! It’s a field of green.

See how tall some of them are already?

That’s Bioscience High School in the background where the students will be using the sunflower oil to make biodiesel fuel for their hybrid vehicle.

The sunflowers in this post are from across the street at Roosevelt Growhouse, a community garden. Kenny Barrett, a local artist who started the Growhouse, was the driving force behind Valley of the Sunflowers.

And soon there should be a lot of these at Valley of the Sunflowers:

*Oh, and unfortunately, their Kickstarter did not raise enough money so was not funded 😦


Remember when I wrote about the inspirational and exciting downtown Phoenix project, Valley of the Sunflowers, a little over a month ago? Well, this is what it looked like a few days ago, seeds planted. The seedlings are sprouting and, in fact, since I took this photo, the lot has been covered with straw to deter the downtown pigeons from snacking. There is also now a call for artists to design scarecrows, too. So, in a couple weeks, I’ll go back and photograph the lot again.

This project is causing a lot of excitement. They do have grants to pay for the first season but are trying to fundraise for future seasons. They have a Kickstarter for this project but, with only a few days to go, they are running way behind. If the full amount of $15K is not raised by October 24, the funds that are pledged will be forfeited. With Kickstarter, you can donate as little as $1 to make a difference. Do you know about Kickstarter? It’s an innovative way to raise funds for small creative projects and I’m surprised this one has raised so little…I’m hoping they have some high rollers planning on donating at the last minute. Check it out to see what projects are in your area but you can donate to any project, anywhere, and this would be a great one to start with.

This video they put together for the Kickstarter is so positive and fun, it’s only 2 minutes long, so check it out if you freaking love sunflowers…or art or urban revitalization or education or Phoenix…

These are their goals:

– Demonstrate art can create a transformative educational experience for local students
– Demonstrate art can reduce urban blight by beautifying vacant lots
– Demonstrate art can be a catalyst for sustainable energy
– Demonstrate art can bring excitement and inspiration to downtown Phoenix

You can also read about their progress on their Facebook page.