Selection Panel Review

The next stage of the Design Competition is a review the Finalists’ submissions by a Selection Panel comprised of 11 highly qualified community members.  Selection panelists were chosen for their expertise and ability to represent a broad spectrum of the community.

The Selection Panelists are:

  • Robert Knight, Chief Executive Officer of the Tucson Museum of Art (TMA).  The TMA is located across the street from the El Presidio Park.
  • Dr. Paul Ivey, Professor of Art, University of Arizona (UA).  Dr. Ivey has studied and lectured on creation of memorials, including the Oklahoma City Memorial.
  • Corky Poster, Architect at Poster/Frost/Mirto,Tucson.  Poster is a former UA professor of architecture and has been responsible for numerous historic preservation projects, including the recent renovation of the “Old Main” building on the UA campus.
  • Gloria Giffords, Art Historian, Artist, and Conservator.  Giffords is also the mother of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
  • Betty Villegas, Pima County Housing Program Manager and Past President, Tucson Pima Arts Council.
  • Monica Durazo, Fabric artist.  Durazo has worked with the volunteer group inventorying  tribute materials left at the informal memorial sites in Tucson.
  • Ardis Niemann Noonan, Artist and resident of El Presidio neighborhood.
  • Helen Erickson, Landscape Architect.  Erickson is involved with the restoration of the historic Garret Eckbo urban landscape design which is in proximity to El Presidio Park.
  • Carter Volle, Architect with Pima County Facilities.  Pima County owns El Presidio Park.
  • Irene Ogata, City of Tucson Office of Integrated Planning.  The City of Tucson manages the El Presidio Park.
  • Karen Christensen, Board President of January 8th Memorial Foundation, past General Counsel and Deputy Chairman for Grants, National Endowment for the Arts.

Design Concepts:
The Master Plan for El Presidio Park and Jan 8 Memorial Design must be informed by:

  1. The civic discourse exemplified by ‘Congress on Your Corner’ events and by the tragedy that occurred in Tucson on January 8, 2011.
  2. Remembering those who lost their lives and those who were injured, while participating in our democratic process.
  3. The Tucson community’s response to the tragedy, including the first responders.
  4. The spontaneous memorial tributes created by caring community members at University Medical Center, Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s office, and the Safeway store.
  5. The Tucson community’s ongoing commitment to the fundamental value of ‘Together We Thrive.’
  6. Awareness that the Memorial belongs to all Tucsonans as part of their shared experience.
  7. Sensitivity to the site within Tucson’s history.

Selection Criteria:
The 4 design team finalists were selected using the following considerations in addition to panelists’ perceptions of their qualifications:

1. Capability of achieving aesthetic excellence

2. Inventiveness and creativity

3. Ability to address the opportunities and limitations for the El Presidio Master Plan

4. Capability of designing an original and unique Memorial

5. Responsiveness to the Foundation Mission

6. Responsiveness to the goals of honoring the individuals involved and of designing a space for contemplation and conversation, and for use of festivals

7. Capability of designing a Memorial space that is distinct but still part of El Presidio Park

8. Sensitivity to the unique historic considerations of the overall site

9. Ability to develop/conduct public outreach plan

10. Sustainability/Maintenance Consideration

11. Sensitivity to wider Tucson context

12. Ability to work within an emotionally-charged, politically-charged context


Finalists initially came to Tucson in January, 2015 for a site visit and to receive further input from the Selection Panel and a variety of community stakeholders.

The four design team finalists will present their preliminary ideas for a master plan for El Presidio Park as well as a preliminary Jan 8 Memorial design concept on a second visit on April 2nd, 2015.

Following the presentations, a 30-day public comment period will ensue and the public is invited to view the designs and submit their comments on our website, which will be posted shortly after April 2nd presentations.

After a review of the submitted comments and recommendations, the Selection Panel will select a final design team to be awarded the commission in May, 2015.  The design team will then continue to work with community stakeholders throughout 2015 to develop a final design for both the Jan 8 Memorial and Master Plan for El Presidio Park.