Visiting Artisans to Donate Long-Term Art Pieces to Children’s Museum of Phoenix in Conjunction with Concrete Décor Show

Jan. 11, 2010, Phoenix — Poet Shel Silverstein showed children where the sidewalk ends. Concrete artisans coming to the Phoenix Convention Center will show them how a sidewalk begins.

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix will benefit from several creative improvements thanks to the generosity of delegates bound for Phoenix for the Concrete Decor Show and Decorative Concrete Spring Training in March 2010. In advance of the event, several groups of artisans and trainers are visiting the Children’s Museum in January and February to work on colorful concrete artworks that will be showcased during the March event.

Among those art pieces is a new concrete sidewalk mural that will help teachers and parents keep children organized when they line up to board and exit buses. In keeping with the museum’s imaginative spirit, the sidewalk will be shaped in the form of a 100-foot, brightly colored, origami-style snake.

At other concrete-industry trade shows, exhibitors create elaborate concrete designs only to have them jack-hammered to pieces at the event’s end. But for the Concrete Decor Show in Phoenix, organizers from Professional Trade Publications Inc. — the group that publishes Concrete Décor magazine and hosts the trade show — worked with the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau to hatch a new idea: Why not leave behind a concrete design that enhances downtown Phoenix for years to come?

“This is a wonderful example of how bringing meeting and conventions to downtown Phoenix can positively impact the community as a whole,” said Steve Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix CVB. “Events like the Concrete Decor Show present opportunities for corporate goodwill, local volunteerism and building business connections.”

Students from Phoenix’s Franklin Police and Fire High School worked with Southern Arkansas University art professor Steven Ochs and concrete engraver Gerald Taylor on the mural. Ochs and Taylor specialize in collaborative public artworks and will speak on that topic at the Decorative Concrete Spring Training sessions in March.

“The museum provides a place where contractors and artisans can not only participate in workshops with leading industry experts, they can help to complete building improvements that will have a lasting impression on the lives of young people for years to come,” said Bent Mikkelsen, publisher of Concrete Decor magazine and owner of the Concrete Decor Show. “From the outset it was our vision for the event to leave behind something of lasting value for the Phoenix community. The Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau played a vital role by arranging for us to meet the team at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix.”

The Concrete Decor Show and Decorative Concrete Spring Training also will benefit Phoenix’s economy. Organizers for the event expect more than 3,000 delegates to attend, injecting an estimated $4.4 million dollars worth of direct spending into the local economy.

The serpentine sidewalk is just one of the projects on tap at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix in advance of the Concrete Decor Show and Decorative Concrete Spring Training. Bob and Lee Ann Harris of the Decorative Concrete Institute started the first phase of installing new stamped, colored and stained concrete in a previously unused courtyard area. They were aided by local volunteers, including Ray Anger and Shea Burke of Concrete Staining and Scoring, alongside six journeyman finishers from local 394 of the OPCMIA. A later phase of that work will be completed in March as part of onsite workshops at the museum. Hanson Aggregates of Arizona has donated the ready-mixed concrete for the Children's Museum courtyard.

Some additional work will be done inside the museum resurfacing floors and grinding and polishing concrete surfaces to restore their utility and beauty. A large scale sculpted iceberg and other concrete art objects are all part of the plan for showcasing decorative concrete in Phoenix.

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is housed in an historic 1913 school building in the city’s urban heart, near the Arizona Science Center and Chase Field light-rail station. Ten years and $23 million in the making, the museum was created for children as young as infants and as old as 10. Unlike traditional museums, it doesn’t focus on art or science; instead, the hands-on exhibits are designed to stimulate and entertain kids, and foster interaction between them and their parents. For more information about the museum, visit

Decorative concrete is a specialized business where skilled contractors or artisans employ creative and artistic methods of finishing existing or new concrete with stains, colors, designs, textures, patterns and resurfacing materials such as micro-toppings and coatings that make it more aesthetically appealing. As early as 300 BC the ancient Romans used a material remarkably similar to modern cement to build architectural marvels of grand scale. The Pantheon provides an example of the phenomenal durability of concrete. Today, decorative concrete is synonymous with creative versatility. For more information about the Concrete Décor Show, visit