Ellen Phillips is an internationally exhibited sculptor/installation artist working in both permanent and temporary site-specific public art. She holds a M.F.A. degree from San Diego State University and has taught intermittently at SDSU and Mesa College. She has received a San Diego NEA/CITY/COMBO Fellowship Grant and, in 1994, was an invited artist in residence at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX. Her significant exhibition history includes the Lausanne Biennial, Switzerland, and other exhibitions in Europe and Mexico. The work deals with cityscape, landscape and the human condition.
Ellen's public art work enlivens Dairy Mart Bridge, San Diego, with photos and stories of the 1916 flood photo etched onto granite in viewpoint benches, and water symbols of all cultures and ages on entry pillars, picket railings and benches. Bridge shape reinforces wave/water patterns. The bridge was awarded Transportation Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association (San Diego and Imperial Counties). Carley's Magical Gardens at Children's Hospital is a memorial featuring garden seating, fountain, and play structures and was created in collaboration with Mary Lynn Dominguez and others. This project received an Orchid Award from the San Diego Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. At the same location, The Children's Wall is a tile and bronze interactive mural built in collaboration with Mary Lynn Dominguez and Jesus Dominguez, the team which also created Journey, a polychrome wood mural that stretches across two rooms of Malabar Library, Los Angeles. Flight/Alight, another team effort with Ms. Dominguez, brings a flight of patinaed steel birds in to land on a street median in Mission Hills, a part of the Washington Street Beautification Project for the City of San Diego.
The Children’s wall
This colorful interactive tile wall includes 9 bronze sculptural forms, most with moveable parts. Among the inventive invitations to play, there’s a rocket ship to pilot, telephones with kinetic keypads, a roadrunner who's feet spin and more. It stands in the second floor courtyard and serves the young patients and their siblings at the San Diego Children’s Hospital. The Children’s Wall received the ceramic tile industry’s Spectrum International Award of Merit in 1995. The art work was a collaboration between Mary Lynn Dominguez, Jesus Dominguez and Ellen Phillips.
The Dairy Mart Bridge
It is important to me that my public art reflect the history and culture of site. Public art grows out a dialogue between artist, site and community and gives a strong sense of place that contributes to the identity and viability of the neighborhood.
Ellen Phillips with Kercheval Engineers and the City of San Diego Wastewater Department. 2000