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Creating small intermediate projects using Art and Urban-Acupuncture to attract resources which will increase environmental awareness, economic growth and quality of life.

Sovanarry Phy, is the COO and co-founder of NEPO+ Community, Art & Technology. Her Master’s of Arch thesis was focused on researching strategies to restore the Salton Sea, where she developed the “ArtCupuncture” idea. Her interest in the Salton Sea started in the year 2015, where she was a paid intern at the California Energy Commission (CEC) in Sacramento. One of her responsibilities was to present current issues on the Salton Sea, where she became intrigued by its unique environmental conditions. In 2016 she graduated with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Environmental Engineering at University of California, Merced. Then graduated in 2019 with a Masters of Arch, at NewSchool of Arch & Design in San Diego. Although her initial interest was on the Salton Sea, she and her team aspire to continue to help the global community through the awareness that NEPO+ Pop-Up Galleries accomplish.


One of the beautiful things in this world is being able to travel and experience the unique nature of a city or community. Cities are defined through their culture, people, environment, art or food. It may not be realized, but these cities have a large effect on human society. Cities’ are more than a location, it is a home that shapes identity, have the ability to spark emotions through its unique spaces, capable of maneuvering communities through its infrastructure and can influence future generations' mindsets through travel. This is the reason it is important for urban planners to create and maintain “healthy” cities. However, there is a web of underlying problems urban planners must first resolve, which may be supporting low-income families, fighting for social equality or preserving natural resources from being exploited. There is not a one-size fits all solution to bring justice to communities fighting for their survival.  Urban planning requires years of rigorous meetings with politicians, community members & city planners. All these schemes are necessary to have but there are some locations that are in need of a NOW solution. After exploring various urban planning strategies. Sovanarry has formulated a solution called “ArtCupuncture.” It is a now-strategy that focuses on creating small intermediate projects that use art, to attract resources that can increase the value of the community, environment and economy. 

Salton Sea ArtCupuncture

For the Salton Sea, in order to attract the general public the Art must be large scale, loud and present a unique experience for visitors. Steven Zirblis, is a Desert Shore community member and artist, who is wanting to construct a 15'-0"  obelisks at Desert Shores. He maintains a connectivity to its origins by constructing the entire piece with broken Mexican culture tile and broken Cahuilla pottery collected in the nearby land.

“Traditionally obelisks are used in the desert Southwest to mark the international border between the US and Mexico. I’d like to incorporate authentic Native American quarry debitage and native style potsherds, broken Mexican style tile and Anglo-American post apocalyptic glass. All to reflect the cultures that have and continue to use and inhabit this desert.” – By Steven Zirblis Desert Shores Community Member

Salton SeaThe Problem

The Salton Sea’s natural ecosystem is at the cusp of disappearing and its water depletion is increasing respiratory health issues for nearby communities. Without an instream of revenue supporting restoration projects at the Salton Sea, the management of its water resources becomes a growing concern and forces organizations to scavenge for funding for future projects. The Salton Sea's harsh environmental conditions is increasing each day and there needs to be a “Now Solution.”

Power in Numbers


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