Most of Arcosanti’s public art on display is of course connected with Paolo Soleri and his work: windbells, ceramics, and silt designs. But there are examples of the work of other artists, including the large sculpture by John Waddell on display in the Colly Soleri Memorial Garden in front of the vaults.

The sculpture is called “Three Friends,” or “Trilogy” and was moved to the Colly Garden in 2006 from John Waddell’s studio and sculpture garden in Cornville, AZ. The bronze grouping of three near-life-size nude figures is on a single base 87″ x 52″ x 26″.

A favorite unofficial activity of workshop participants and residents has been to dress up the “naked bronze people” in appropriate holiday finery.

[photo: Ron Chandler]


On January 5, 2011, it was time to say goodbye to the “Three Friends.” The sculpture was to be returned to John Waddell’s studio.

The sculpture is extremely heavy and moving it required many people, sustained effort and coordination.

After the “Three Friends” were wrestled into the back of a pick-up truck, they were on their way back home. We don’t usually treat out visitors this disrespectfully, but possibly we can be excused for this special case…

John Waddell (b.1921) was raised in the Midwest and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and had his first solo show in Peoria, Illinois at age 21. His formal education includes two M.F.A.’s in Fine Arts and Art Education. He and his wife, Ruth, a close partner in his professional as well as his personal life, moved to Arizona in 1957. Here he headed the art education department at Arizona State University (then Arizona State College) for several years. During this time Waddell made sculpture his primary art form. His sculptures are exhibited in many places in Phoenix, including the  Unitarian Universalist Church on Lincoln Drive, the Civic Plaza and the Phoenix Art Museum. The Waddells have lived in the Verde Valley since 1970 and make frequent visits to the Grand Canyon, where they sketch and paint and help support the Grand Canyon Music Festival.

See the October 27, 2006 report for information and photographs of the sculpture’s arrival at Arcosanti.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>