Signs and Symbols, 2021 - CODAworx

Signs and Symbols, 2021

Client: City of Tempe

Location: Tempe, AZ, United States

Completion date: 2021

Project Team


John Randall Nelson

Nelson Public Art


Gretchen Wilde

Airpark Signs and Graphics


“Signs and Symbols”
painted steel, sizes vary, sited at Optimist Park, Tempe, AZ.

Three freestanding artworks at three
intersections on the El Paso Pathway.

A butterfly, a humming bird and a
rabbit sit atop steel totems.

The symbols represent optimism, nature and mobility.
They also point to the spirit of the neighborhood
– walking, biking, running and environment.


Signs and Symbols creates a social conversation through the use of sign and symbol. Art landmarks, such as these create a energy between the art, the site and the public.

Nelson Public provides original design for public, private, and corporate collectors. Studio services range from the initial concept to the fabrication and installation of the final artwork.


A successful collaboration between the City of Tempe, Nelson Public Art and Airport Signs and Graphics.

The approach for this project began by emphasizing the point of view, perspective, and scale of the site itself. The goal was to make it impactful, make it theatrical, and integrate it into the surrounding environment.