Emerald Center and the City of Tempe recently commemorated the installation of “The Earth Thermometer”, a public art project designed by local artist, Theodore ‘Ted’ Troxel. The Earth Thermometer stands at the southwest corner of Jewel Street and Emerald Drive in the Emerald Center Development, located at the northeast corner of the I-10 and Warner Road.

Speakers included Tom Tait, Jr. of Tait Development Company; Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell, Artist Ted Troxel; and Dane Christensen of Christy Signs, responsible for The Earth Thermometer’s electric systems, base mounting, and installation.

The Earth Thermometer is a 13-foot-tall stainless-steel sculpture on a concrete foundation representing the Earth’s continents. The thermometer is marked in increments of 20 degrees Fahrenheit, but with just two numbers appearing on the surface: 98 degrees and 32 degrees.  The reflective surface allows the object to be interactive with modern life shaping the health of the planet.  The thermometer is angled to suggest a fragile nature between life and our planet and to promote its care.  The sculpture’s lighting indicates the temperature, which can range from -40 to 120 F.

The piece intends to address climate change by emphasizing the temperature between a healthy human body and freezing water.  The relationship between human activity affecting global warming is marked at 98-degrees Fahrenheit, with the 32-degree marker indicating the importance of water for our survival.

“Tait Development took our city’s Art in Private Development ordinance to the next level. We believe that the variety of high-quality art installations in Tempe makes our city a destination for visitors, attracts new businesses and creates a beautiful community for residents. The Earth Thermometer is just one more great attraction in the Emerald Center and it is a stellar example of how well our ordinance works,” said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell.

The project, commissioned by Tait Development, developers of Emerald Center, was submitted to and approved by the Tempe Arts and Culture Commission. Tempe Public Art aspires to cultivate a unique community identity that advances Tempe as a vibrant and progressive destination. Tempe’s diverse collection of permanent and temporary public art complements the natural and built environment through innovative place-making, installations, and infrastructure enhancements. Tempe Public Art promotes artistic expression, bringing people together to strengthen Tempe’s sense of community and place.

Bollinger Atelier, a world class art foundry and fabricator based in Tempe, provided final design and fabrication services. Visit www.bollingeratelier.com.