February, and specifically, Feb. 14, the State of Arizona celebrates its 100th birthday! I’m proud to say that the City of Flagstaff has played a significant role in this celebration by showcasing our rich heritage, growth and culture these past 100 years.
As part of the Centennial, the state, along with the Arizona Historical Advisory Commission, designated a list of Legacy Projects. Flagstaff’s Centennial Walk was designated an official Arizona Centennial 2012 Legacy Project.
The Centennial Walk is a 100-foot section of the Flagstaff Urban Trails System (FUTS), along the northern edge of the historic train depot where the Flagstaff Visitor Center is located. The Centennial Walk commemorates the State of Arizona Centennial with a mural along the walkway that depicts 100 years of Flagstaff history.
FUTS is our most popular trails system that connects neighborhoods, shopping, places of employment, schools, parks, open space, and the surrounding National Forest, and allows users to combine transportation, recreation and contact with nature. The FUTS trail and the mural were completed in the summer of 2010. Not only is the segment significant because of the Centennial connection, it also marks the 50th mile of FUTS.
The Flagstaff Beautification and Public Arts Commission selected renowned Navajo artist Redwing Ted Nez, known for his contemporary works depicting modern Navajo way of life, to paint the Centennial Walk Mural. Nez said his vision for the mural stemmed from childhood memories of Flagstaff in the 1960s.
With a background in traditional sand painting, Nez studied art at Northern Arizona University. His works have won numerous awards, including Best of Show at the Navajo Festival of Arts and Culture at MNA. He has illustrated several books on Native culture and even played the role of a Sioux warrior in the 1990 Academy Award winning film, Dances with Wolves.
The location of the mural is ideal, as nearly 100,000 people go through the Visitor Center to learn more about Flagstaff, the Amtrak station is one of the busiest in Arizona and thousands of people use the FUTS trail each year. All of these individuals will have the chance to see this piece of art, which was funded by our beautification fund and allocation of the Bed Board and Beverage tax.
The Centennial Walk is a collaboration between multiple City of Flagstaff departments and commissions to ensure that Flagstaff residents and visitors have a permanent reminder of Arizona’s Centennial and Flagstaff’s rich history.
If you haven’t seen it already, please stop by the Visitors Center and check out the Mural and Centennial Walk. And, if you happen to show up on the day of our state’s birthday, you’ll probably find something tasty inside the Visitors Center.
Look for celebrations at our libraries throughout the month of February as well as special acknowledgement at the City Council meeting on Feb. 14, 2012 at 5:30 p.m. FBN
Mayor’s Address: Sara Presler, Flagstaff Mayor