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.
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.
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