Artist Highlight: How Koryn Rolstad’s Art Installations bring color to the Tempe Streetcar 


If you’ve driven through downtown Tempe recently, you’ve noticed some street construction going on.  In addition to the now-ubiquitous cranes lifting residential towers into the skyline, Mill Avenue, Ash Avenue, Rio Salado, and Apache Boulevard are all being prepared for the new and much-anticipated Streetcar.

Beyond the track and the new stations, the Tempe Streetcar will also feature beautiful art installations by a variety of artists.  One of the creative minds behind the installations took some time to talk with us about her work.

Koryn Rolstad

Koryn Rolstad is an artist of color and space – by melding together her background in engineering and architecture with her fine arts sensibility, Koryn creates playful and dramatic public works that evoke the natural world while playing with strong geometric shapes and otherworldly colors. An award winning artist, she has designed pieces for schools, universities, airports, and community gardens.

For the Tempe Streetcar, Koryn’s work will be located at three points along the route: at the Tempe Beach Park, at Hayden Ferry, and at the Marina Heights. Each station will contain five ‘trees’ at two sights on the right and left of the stations or entryways.

The inspiration for the tree forms is the desert environment of this Eco-Region. In the desert, the flora environment is spare, elegant, and often contains ‘otherworldly’ shapes. Rolstad’s stylized trees speak to the desert environment’s ability to survive, and how that fight for survival defines our unique eco-culture.

In addition to providing color and beauty to the Streetcar line, the tall Desert Tree forms will create color-coded visual gateways for each of the important Regional Transportation Stations.

The color changes of the tree forms for each of the stations represent:

  1. Tempe Beach Park – Blue Purple & Red  / Blue cast of the horizon, birds, insects
  • Hayden Ferry – Green Yellow & Aqua Blue / Low growing succulents, flowers
  • Marina Heights – Soft Red, Orange, and Yellow / Sunrise & sunset colors