By Bridget Binsbacher, Councilmember,
Mesquite District, City of Peoria
The 303/Happy Valley Road bridge project is a perfect example of how every road project is looked at by the engineering and development team as an opportunity for function and beauty.
The art team was part of this project right from the beginning to ensure that this bridge would not only serve traffic and pedestrians, but also be a point of pride for Peoria citizens and visitors, while leaving a lasting legacy for the student artists involved. Art enhances the quality of life every day in Peoria and adds to the sense of place and community.
Four Peoria Unified School District elementary schools in the area of the bridge expansion project were selected to be part of the art inspiration and creation for the bridge pillar mosaics. The four schools are Zuni Hills, Sunset Heights, Lake Pleasant, and Vistancia. Local artist Kristine Kollasch was chosen for the project for her expertise in working with mosaics and her experience in teaching students. She led workshops at each of the schools for the students to create drawings that represented the area. Twelve of those drawings were selected to be represented through the creation of the mosaic art panels. The artist worked with the students to create the individual ceramic tiles that are woven into the intricate designs of the final mosaic panels. The panels measure 36” wide by 80” tall. Four of the art panels will be viewed from the traffic side of the bridge, and eight of the art panels will be viewed from the pedestrian side.