Dwayne Manuel Mural Featured on New APS Substation Located at Entrance to Roosevelt Row Arts District

SRPMIC member Dwayne Manuel was one of 12 artist to be chosen to paint a mural on the new APS Substation located at the gateway of Roosevelt Row; 7th Street and Roosevelt.

In 2018, APS was looking for a site for its new substation in downtown Phoenix’s Evans-Churchill neighborhood and sought community input. The company reviewed 14 possible sites and ultimately ended up choosing the southwest corner of Seventh Street and Roosevelt, at the entrance to the Roosevelt Row Arts District. The district features art and cultural expression in multiple forms by street artists, musicians, designers, poets, culinary artists, crafters and more. When coming up with the design concept for the new substation, neighbors suggested a number of ideas, including murals to continue to make the gateway of Roosevelt Row vibrant. 

The final outcome of Manuel’s mural features the foundations of color theory, dwellings, art, basketry and pottery. Photo courtesy of Alice Manuel 

Artlink led the Phoenix Center for the Arts and Urban Institute 2D Project, which included eight wall murals on the substation ranging from 300 square feet to 1,600 square feet. Artists selected to feature their work include Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member Dwayne Manuel (@dwaynethedestroyer) and two female artists who are married into the SRPMIC, Natasha Martinez and Anitra Molina (@rezmoski, @yukueone), who will be sharing a wall. Both murals will be located on the southeast side of the new APS substation along Seventh Street. Other participating artists include Brian Boner (@bonerbrian), Tato Caraveo (@tatocaraveo), Lalo Cota (@lalocota), Lauren Lee (@mslaurenlee), Such & Champ (@_suchstyles, @champ_styles) and Shela Yu (@shellshaker). Artists began creating their murals during the last week of February and are continuing through March. 

Artists were chosen by a selection panel composed of members representing the Roosevelt Row Arts District and Evans-Churchill Neighborhood. Manuel submitted his portfolio, a letter of letter of interest and his résumé. 

“They were basing who they were choosing off those three items,” said Manuel. “The portfolio shows your experience, and the letter of interest was important because they wanted you to explain in words why you have a tie to Roosevelt Row. Luckily, I got in there with my little write-up and my ties to Roosevelt Row, which was not only historical with the people and where we come from, but also my art background and graffiti and coming down here for First Fridays to hang out. Even though I wasn’t showing work here, I would come and hang out and check out all the artwork. This is when Thomas ‘Breeze’ Marcus was in his early days; he would have his table and his stuff set up.”

Natasha Martinez and Anitra Molina paint one of eight murals new APS substation. Photo courtesy of Natasha Martinez 

“I wanted to celebrate the history of this area and of course include the Native American representation, the O’odham representation,” said Manuel. “I decided to go with the idea of ‘foundations,’ in not only the structures, but foundations in art. There are a lot of basic shapes, like a circle, triangle and simple linear marks; those are the foundation of the basic design. Then also the foundation of color theory—the … kind of explosions in the back, those are tertiary colors, which is the third stage of color mixing. On top of that there are purple, orange and blue splatters; those are the secondary colors. And the splatters on top are more detailed, like the blue, yellow and the red; those are the primary colors in color theory. Talking about foundations … is the whole theme of mine, the whole foundation of this area … talk about the foundation of structures, from the Hohokam pit house to the O’odham olas ki to the California bungalow to what they are building [here] now, which are apartments. I wanted [it] to be an explosion of color, because when you think of Roosevelt Row, you think about all the artwork, which is an explosion of color and that’s what my whole theme is based on.”

Manuel’s sister-in-law and another SRPMIC member spouse Natasha Martinez and Anitra Molina were also chosen to collaborate for one of eight wall murals. Photo courtesy of Natasha Martinez

Manuel was finishing up his mural when interviewed. He showed his completed design on his iPad. His mural includes little art pieces like the tools traditionally used to make O’odham baskets, such as devil’s claw and cat tail. He also included artist’s tools, such as paintbrushes, paints and a canvas. His main concept and theme is to celebrate the vitality of the arts but also include the historical and cultural aspects.

To find out more about the APS Evans-Churchill North Substation and its artistic components, visit https://evanschurchillsubstation.com and also learn about one of the largest private installations of public art in Phoenix. 

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