A family of massive deer has settled down in the Town of Marana, and they’re here to stay.

Built of metal and painted to match the surrounding environment, the deer can be found on the south side of West Tangerine Road between Camino De Oeste and Camino De Mañana. Unveiled in a public ceremony earlier this month led by Mayor Ed Honea and town staff, the public art installation at the site of the under-development Tangerine Sky Park is aptly named “Deer at Tangerine Sky Park.”

The multi-year project was made possible by the Transportation Art by Youth Program, part of the Pima Association of Governments, which granted the town $75,000. The art program incorporates art into regional transportation projects, in this case the Tangerine Corridor Project.

The artist behind the deer concept was Trevor O’Tool, who worked alongside Marana High School Welding Teacher Kenton Webb in supervising a handful of students who crafted the three fawns. With some assistance, O’Tool constructed the doe and buck.

Tony Hunter, Marana’s assistant to the town manager, said the concept developed from a brainstorming session. The desire for public art mixed well with an interest in involving the youth of the community and the PAG grant seemed to “fit perfectly” into the mix, according to Hunter.

Hunter turned to the Marana Citizens’ Forum for assistance in creating a rough concept for the project: A representation of Marana’s heritage and history, both natural and cultural. Addressing a crowd of several dozen on Thursday, Nov. 16 to formally unveil to project, Hunter said the five members of the Marana Citizens’ Forum Public Art Committee—Ron Hill, Angela Wagner-Gabbard, Don Duncan, Valerie Pullara and Michael Smentek—were a “huge help throughout the long and engaging process.”

“All of this represents the foundation of community in Marana, between the town, the school district, the young people and between our regional governments,” Hunter said. “I think that it’s a project that just exemplifies community in every aspect.”

Honea called the finished project and the surrounding landscaping “absolutely beautiful,” and a town asset that will catch the attention of countless visitors and residents, for years to come. Not only would the art benefit the town, Honea added, but the collaboration is a reminder of the values that make Marana an attractive community.

“You have people from the town and from the forum that help set up the project. You have the artist, Trevor, who designed it. And you have young people from our CTE program and our welding program who helped to build this,” Honea said. “It’s creates a sense of pride, and a sense of involvement for everybody.”

Interim Town Manager Jamsheed Mehta said the public art instillation is the first of its kind within Marana and is inclusive to all community groups, noncontroversial and blends in well with the surrounding environment. 

“This is what Marana is all about,” he said.

The town broke ground on the Tangerine Sky Park site on June 1. The park will be located at 4411 W. Tangerine Road. The 12-acre site is slated for completion next year, and will include a path system that will connect to the Tangerine shared-use path system, multipurpose fields, a playground, basketball court, ramadas and other amenities.  

Read this story and more at tucsonlocalmedia.com.

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