Tucson's Public Art

Title: Freeman Pioneer Memorial (The Bufano Bench), by Maybeck, Bernard and Beniamino Bufano (1920)

Location: 200 S. Sixth Avenue. In front of the Children's Museum.

Details: Marble bench with carved figures and urns.

She Said:

This piece is rather traditional and formal in design, but to me, it stands out from the ordinary. Tucson is a good place to look for public artwork, partly because the examples are many and varied, and partly just because it's fun to discover things that you might not have noticed otherwise. The Bufano Bench, with its bas-relief figures and urns, commemorates the lives of the early non-native inhabitants of the area, and celebrates the courage they displayed in their travels across the continent to reach what is now Tucson. Not many of us today will warrent such a memorial.

He Said:

There's always a first, and this is it: Tucson's first piece of public art. Once this stood in front of the Public Library (a Carnegie edifice), but now it stands in front of the Children's Museum. All without moving an inch in the last 84 years.

This bench, besides giving people a place to rest their weary feet, shows off some beautiful stone and stonework. I would like to note that when working with stone, it can be unforgiving, leaving mistakes in place for the ages. Here, in an unobtrusive corner you will find a "typo," a small statement in which the stone carver used "it's" when he meant to use "its." Yes, even in the grand old days of strict education, people were still people.

Copyright © 2004 S. Halversen. All rights reserved.