A much loved mural is once more on view at Phoenix Sky Harbor, having been moved following the 2020 decommissioning of Terminal 2.

A colourful mural by Paul Coze that greeted travellers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport for decades is once again ready to be visited and seen, this time at the Arizona airport’s Rental Car Center.

The Phoenix, a 75ft by 16ft triptych, is believed to be the first piece of public art commissioned by the city to be chosen through a public process. In 1960 city leaders invited artists to submit concepts that were then put on display at the Phoenix Public Library, with citizens voting for their favourite design. Coze’s was selected and his mural debuted when Terminal 2 opened in 1962. 

Central panel of The Phoenix
"We are all represented in this work of art," said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego
Phoenix Sky Harbor

The mural remained in its central location over the main hall after Terminal 2 closed and was decommissioned in early 2020. Its relocation to the Rental Car Center began in March 2021.

“The history represented in this mural – from the imagery of Hohokam [a local indigenous community] symbols, modern tribes and Latino heritage to mining and technology depictions – speaks to each one of us,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said. “We are all represented in this work of art.”

The mural represents Phoenix’s past, present and future. In addition to paint media, 52 different materials, including glass and ceramic mosaic tiles, soil and sand from around the state, plastics, aluminium and gemstones, were used in its construction.

Phoenix viewscope
The mural has been an important part of airport life since Terminal 2 opened in 1962
Phoenix Sky Harbor

The Phoenix can be viewed on the southwest corner of the central escalator lobby in the Rental Car Center. According to the airport, it will be even easier to access by mid-2022, when the PHX Sky Train extension to the Rental Car Center opens to the public.