Q&AZ: Will 'The Phoenix' Mural At Sky Harbor Airport Be Saved?

By Christina Estes
Published: Monday, October 8, 2018 - 4:22pm
Updated: Wednesday, June 10, 2020 - 11:47am

The Phoenix mural
Craig Smith/Phoenix Airport Museum
"The Phoenix" is 75 feet wide by 16 feet tall.

As Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport moves forward with plans to demolish Terminal 2, listener Corrine Wilson asked if a historic mural will be saved.

It’s called “The Phoenix” and it stretches along the west wall of the lobby inside Terminal 2.

“It’s a monumental 75 feet wide by 16 feet tall,” said Gary Martelli, airport museum curator.

In 1960, Martelli said the city council invited five artists to submit drawings for the new airport terminal.

“The drawings were put on display at Phoenix Public Library and citizens actually voted for their favorite design and Paul Coze’s design was selected,” he said. “Terminal 2 opened in 1962, and “The Phoenix” mural we consider to be the first piece of public art commissioned by the city of Phoenix that was chosen through a public process.”

The mixed medium mural features 52 materials, including tiles, glass, gemstones, and even sand from around the state.

Because the mural is not directly attached to the wall, experts determined it can be moved. And that’s the plan when Terminal 2 closes around 2020. Exactly where at Sky Harbor “The Phoenix” will land next is not yet known.