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BIRDIE UMWELT Wins International Award

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“Birdie Umwelt” by Mary Lucking has been honored at the 2020 CODAawards. Photo: Scottsdale Arts.

BIRDIE UMWELT Wins International Award

"Birdie Umwelt," a public artwork by Mary Lucking, received Merit honors in the Public Spaces category at the eighth annual international CODAawards: Collaboration of Design + Art.

Administered by CODAworx - the hub of the commissioned art economy - and Interior Design magazine, the CODAawards recognize collaborations that result in outstanding projects that successfully integrate commissioned art into interior, architectural or public spaces. Completed in 2019, "Birdie Umwelt" is part of the Scottsdale Public Art Permanent Collection and is located at the Mustang Library and Transit Center at 10101 N. 90th Street.

"Scottsdale Public Art is honored to be recognized by the CODAawards for 'Birdie Umwelt,' public art created by Arizona artist Mary Lucking with fabrication from Bollinger Atelier and E2 Innovations," said Kim Boganey, director of Scottsdale Public Art. "'Birdie Umwelt' evolved out of a terrific partnership with Scottsdale's Transportation Department. It was created as way to quietly herald the importance of literacy for those using mass transit near the Mustang Library area."

"Birdie Umwelt" is an avian-themed installation of 20 small, bronze sculptures of finches reading pages from published books. They are located around the library and both nearby bus stops on either side of 90th Street. The installation also includes a stylized birdhouse sculpture inspired by the library's architecture and a series of bird and feather images sandblasted into walking paths along the connecting greenbelt.

Based in Phoenix, Lucking's work ranges from large-scale permanent artworks to temporary interactive installations. She has incorporated art into urban and rural walking paths, bike trails, public transit stations, college campuses and neighborhood parks.

"Getting recognition for 'Birdie Umwelt' feels special because it was such a pleasure to work on," Lucking said. "I had a great time collaborating with the librarians, the design team and construction team, the Transportation Department, my project managers at Scottsdale Public Art and the library patrons."

Before creating the pieces, Lucking had birdhouse-shaped suggestion boxes placed in the library for patrons to propose books for the project. She combined those suggestions with her own selections and others from the librarians and members of the transit center team to determine which books would be featured in the completed artwork.

Scottsdale Public Art then had to obtain permission from the publisher and/or author of each book in order to reproduce just one page for each sculpture. It typically took about four to six weeks to obtain each permission; one request took five months to process. Among the featured books are "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson and "When We Were Very Young" by A. A. Milne.

"The CODAawards recognize the importance of collaboration and honor the design and art professionals whose collective imaginations create the public and private spaces that inspire us," said Toni Sikes, CEO of CODAworx.

In its eighth year, the CODAawards received 465 entries from 25 countries around the globe, representing more than $89 million in commissions. Merit-winning projects were located in Los Angeles, Boston, New York City, Milan, London, Perth, Beijing and Jerusalem, among other locations. According to CODAworx, the merit winners exemplify the best of what can happen when artists and design professionals collaborate to create artful spaces in the built environment.

A panel of 18 jurors from the design, architecture and art worlds judged the submissions. The jury selected winners in each of the eleven design categories. Their Top 100 selections were then exhibited online in early summer, and the public was invited to vote for their favorites.

The CODAawards will be included in the September 2020 online issue of Interior Design magazine and on View all the winners at For information about "Birdie Umwelt," visit

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