A committee of 15 selected Tucson’s “monuments” — Adiba Nelson, Felipe S. Molina and Isabel Garcia — for Walsh’s installation, a collaboration between Walsh and Arizona Arts Live, formerly UA Presents.
“It’s overwhelming. It’s surreal,” Nelson said as she stared up into her own towering face staring back at her from a tree. “It’s not anything that a girl from Queens ever dreamed about.”
Nelson is a public speaker, author and writer who focuses on inclusivity and accessibility in her work. As a mother of a child with a disability, she works to spread empowerment, fairness and visibility for communities with disabilities. Her children’s book, “Meet ClaraBelle Blue,” was inspired by the lack of representation of the disabled community in children’s literature.
Giddy laughter erupted as the tree-nymph version of Nelson yawned at the crowd. The onlookers were so excited and entranced in the tree-people, it was hard for anyone to take their eyes off the mesmerizing projected portraits.
“I was just telling my friend I didn’t know if anyone knew my work, what influence I was having or if what I did was being noticed, but I know it’s what I’m here for,” Nelson said. “And then a week later, I got the call from Chad (Herzog, Arizona Arts Live executive director).”