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Fun and Games (and the Light Rail) Make Downtown Shine

November 13, 2009 by Tony Arranaga

Living car-free in Downtown Phoenix has not only taught me about alternative transportation but also introduced me to dozens of people who are passionate about turning our city into a vibrant urban core.

TonyCheeseburgerI had a blast the other week taking part in The Great Phoenix Scavenger Hunt.  Five-person teams had two hours to race around Phoenix either by foot, car or light rail in search of  whacky photo opps. The teams earned points by locating 100 random items on a list, taking a picture with the items, and then posting them to Twitter as proof they found the clue. The event reminded me of the TV show “The Amazing Race,” but obviously on a much smaller scale and minus the jet lag.  Here’s a picture my teammate Tracie took of me during one of the clues.  I had to order and then stuff a quadruple decker cheeseburger into mouth.  The task didn’t seem all that bad at the time, however now I’m slightly nauseous thinking about it.

I realize this image doesn’t exactly say ‘vibrant urban core’ – however if you take a look at the bigger picture you’ll see my point.  The Great Phoenix Scavenger Hunt was organized by a group called Phoenix Actually and for one reason: because the members love this city and see great potential in gathering like-minded optimists who want great things for Phoenix.  The night was a blast!  We didn’t win the hunt, but I met new people and fostered stronger relationships with others.  The event was a success.

I hear there might be another hunt in the works for next year.  However,  other groups are organizing hunts if you’re interested in meeting people who are equally as passionate about the Downtown area. Haus Modern Living is organizing a hunt to help promote local business in Central Phoenix.  Then there was another hunt last Saturday centered around three of my favorite subjects – art and culture along the light rail.  Phoenix Art Treasures on the METRO was organized by the Arizona Citizens for the Arts, a non-profit advocacy group. 

The hunt featured some clues involving the public art displays along the light rail.  In case you didn’t know, METRO allocated $6.3 million towards a public art program for the 20-mile starter light rail line which goes from Mesa, rolls through Tempe, and ends on the north side of Phoenix.  I love how the unique designs created by the 28 artists give each station an identity that’s specific to the area. You can find out more about the public art program along the light rail by clicking here.

Having said all this… Could you track down scavenger hunt clues specific to public art along the light rail?  See if you can match the art descriptions below with a station.  See how many you answered correctly by checking out my Flickr page here.

  1. A mosaic of Sandra Day O’Connor is featured here.
  2. There’s art deco and then there’s cowboy deco.
  3. Where is La Sambra Danza
  4. Art at one station showcases stories of people who lived near ‘the school built in the desert.’
  5. The native art at this station is similar to the style found inside a nearby facility.

Good luck and keep checking the Downtown Blog for information on new scavenger hunts being organized Downtown.


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