Creative Machines has been in Tucson for 21 years and has been on the Southside since 2015. Joseph O’Connell followed his life-long passion for art and founded the company in Florida 30 years ago.

Now, he says he considers Tucson his home.

He’s the artistic director for Creative Machines and leads his team to build interactive projects for not only Tucson, but international clients as well.

His creative machines are showcased through open houses, field trips, and other events. Most of his projects are in the main work space. Some include an star-shaped art piece with each side honoring the stories of veterans, nurses, and first responders, and a sphere that shows the placements of stars at any given time or date.

The first building on the Creative Machines property is an empty space that hasn’t been used for much. O’Connell has been working to change that.

Weve had such a fantastic response to our school field trips and open houses here on the Southside, that we decided it would be great to have a way to let people come wherever. So we formed a nonprofit called Second Sky. We have this entire 12,000 square foot building and about an acre of outdoor space, and we want to turn it into what we call a Science Garden and Social Club, he said.

He’s been working to raise the money and build the team to bring Second Sky to life for all ages. He said the space will have an outdoor playground for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) learning, a cafe, digital art venue, event space, and and a community space. O’Connell added he would offer the space for Southside schools’ after-school programs.

To learn how to join the team or support Second Sky, visit