At first glance I thought this was just a piece of art on the grounds of the Desert Museum. But looking more closely and reading the nearby information post, I learned that this is one of many "bee condos" on the grounds. These artful houses are created by Greg Corman. Bees move into the drilled holes. I never knew that some bees prefer solo living. This passes the "beautiful AND useful" test for sure!
I'm a transplanted New Yorker who loves the Tucson climate. On New Year's Day I have a bit of fun calling my (snowbound) east coast friends to announce that I'm drinking coffee while sitting on my patio. (: