Arizonans to gain deeper appreciation of ancestors from ages past

Arizona Republic editor Phil Boas wrote that Phoenix-area artists will soon tell the story of the ancient Huhugam people, who thrived in this place hundreds of years before air conditioning.

Arizona Community Foundation teamed with Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University and The Arizona Republic to create “The New Arizona Prize,” a contest to inspire problem-solving to get more Arizonans using their ingenuity to address some of the state’s biggest problems.

The first two prizes went to a video project that is raising water consciousness across the state and a beer-tasting challenge that is preparing Arizonans for the likelihood that we’ll one day drink recycled water.

This year’s prize aims to address our water problems while helping Arizonans gain a deeper appreciation of their state. The New Arizona Prize partnership, joined by Salt River Project, invited teams to combine storytelling and education in works of public art to tell the story of the ancient peoples who once populated the Salt River Valley. The Tohono O’Odham Indian community calls these people the “Huhugam,” their ancestors from ages past.

The five winning teams will use their $50,000 prizes to develop works of public art, such as murals and storytelling to depict an ancient culture that learned to manage their water resources in the Salt River Valley.

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