Tuesday, April 18, 2017

New Spring 2017 Murals!

There are lots of new murals going up this spring, and more in the design and planning stages. As the times change, so is TAB’s Mural program. We are finding that many of our muralists feel strongly about a variety of civic issues. These inspiring stories need to be told.

Deportations, Racism, Standing Rock and Domestic Violence are a few of the subjects TAB artists are discussing. We are finding a massive groundswell of support deep within Tucson neighborhoods for this dialogue. As we talk about these ideas, and share our stories we are learning of even more issues, stories of valor and overcoming huge personal barriers, of coming to America, of pain, hope and recovery. By telling these stories we are coming together as a community to heal, to mend and beautify these places we live, work and play.

We invite you to join us in supporting this new era for TAB’s Mural program.

We have a number of new muralists preparing designs. Each of these small and mid sized mural projects cost between $1000 to $8000 to produce. These murals are completely funded by small and large donations from people like you who love murals. To make a tax deductible investment click here.

Emma Bayne “Rebirth” 2017

“My mural is about rebirth and creativity. It is a model of new life and holds personal significance in that I am starting on this new phase of life, growing older and going to college. I believe that life is circular and death only leads to new and beautiful life. In the mural the skulls represent the past and death, the butterfly of sacred rejuvenation and originality and the spiral of the cycle of rebirth. I chose the tiger swallowtail butterfly because it is my dad’s favorite animal, his symbol of sorts and my dad is the biggest inspiration and motivation in me pursuing art. I tied in the desert flora and fauna to represent Tucson’s amazing wildlife, and used bright colors to give the feel of fresh beginnings. I hope this mural evokes happiness and inspires to community to be thankful of life and to use their resources and time in creative ways. I love being able to give something back to the community which raised me by doing something I love to do.”

Sneha Srinivasan

Ever since I got to college, I dreamed of painting a mural. I thought it was a way to make a lasting impact on Tucson. So opportunity finally came up to paint one, I was ecstatic. To be able to share a message of hope with a community that I love is such a joy. In a present time so riddled with hate and turmoil, I wanted to see how art could spread a message of kindness, hope and love. And I know how cliche it all sounds, but I truly believe that over all the waves of trials and tribulations, as a population we can come together for just a second, no matter our race, gender or sexuality, and grow a brighter future.

Nikki Ortiz “La Paz”

Teresa Altamirano (Mural in Progress)
Mural in Progress
Mural Design
"I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. I went to college and took many fine art courses as well as digital art courses. I have an associates degree in Illustration. I draw, paint and have done a few sculptures in the past. I almost gave up being an artist a few years ago thinking I would get no where. But I realized that is stupid, because no one should give up what they do and who they are. This will be my first mural and I would be so happy to have my work displayed as part of my city. I hope to expand on this and do many more in the future.”

Friday, April 14, 2017

2017 Ajo Street Mural Gathering

Project Organizers in front of Miss Hazzards New Ajo Mural
From March 23rd to March 26th dozens of artists gathered in Ajo Arizona, the heart of the desert, to create over 50 beautiful murals in one weekend. Our feature artist this year was Harriet Wood aka Miss Hazzard from Barcelona who created a massive mural in homage to the desert.

Art's Brigade muralists Valeria Hutchings, Porter McDonald, Nikki Ortiz, Emma Bayne, Kat Anderson, Michael Schwartz and Harold Curtis were among the more than 30 mural teams painting. The 2017 organizing team included Caitlyn Allen, Morgana Wallace-Cooper, Kat Anderson, Michael Schwartz, Porter McDonald, Harriet Wood and Martina Dawley.

The Grange, prepared by Americorp Workers Before
Miss Hazard in action.
This coming together of artists, diverse in culture, disciplines and practice - started on the intersection of three nations, the United States, the Tohono O'odham Nation and Mexico. The Ajo Street mural project started in 2015 as artists from throughout southern Arizona created murals of all sizes in the center of Ajo, AZ. The following year (2016) Ajo youth and artists came to Tucson for a Community Build Day event. In 2017 Tucson artists returned to Ajo for our third year of collaborations and mural painting on a large grange.

The Grange before Harriet's mural....

Ajo is in the Sonoran Desert, tucked away in Western Pima County in Arizona, about 120 miles southwest of Phoenix and 130 miles west of Tucson. Ajo is landlocked with the Tohono O'odham Nation to the east, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument to the south, and the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and Goldwater Gunnery Range to the north and west. The Plaza, built in 1917, serves as a place of beauty and also the location of many community events such as the traditional 4th of July and Christmas Eve celebrations. The town has been economically depressed since the large open pit mine closed in the 80's following a strike for higher wages. When copper content levels fell, and as the mine grew in scale arsenic was used in the leeching process. The result was devastating. Today arsenic is found in the soil and water, illustrated by the number of rusting cars and equipment. This massive environmental challenge remains the elephant in the room.

Our youngest muralist, Silas Anderson (Kat's son :) has two murals now!
Kat Anderson's (Silas's mom:) 2 of her new 2017 Ajo Murals

"Juntos" by Niki Ortiz, Ajo, AZ 2017

Emma working on her Ajo Mural, 2017
 Valeria Hutching's new narrative Mural in Ajo
Harold Curtis's Ajo Mural
Michael Schwartz, "Arsenic" Ajo Mural
Porter McDonalds new Ajo Mural

"The project is a framework for larger national and international
Emma Bayne in Ajo
dialogue to promote socially engaged practice and community based arts. I believe street art enhances its own surroundings and provides an opportunity for public interaction and community conversation. This is not only an opportunity for renewal in connections within the community but a chance to forge and create stronger bonds between the town and its neighbors in Mexico." - Miss Hazzard
This little ancestor visited each mural, and muralist. 

Collaborating groups include Tucson Arts Brigade, ISDA, USDAC Border Arts Group, Neoglyphix
and ASAP (Ajo Street Art Project).
Muralists and assistants painting

More weekend highlights included New Orleans based Mondo Bizarro and Art Spot Productions who provided musical and theatrical performance. Saturday night included a community potluck and art exhibition opening, complete with delicious after dinner treats at Art Under the Arches Gallery. That exhibit continues through May 1.

Caitlyn tries her hand at graffiti art

These murals have now become a landmark and destination for the tiny town as tourists from throughout the world get to see and enjoy over 50 murals painted by artists.  All the more reason to plan a trip to Ajo Arizona and perhaps at the beautiful Sonoran Desert Retreat Center, enjoy the murals, quiet days, fine people, food and scenery.

Funding for this project was made possible by the Puffin Foundation without whom this initiative would not have been possible. Additional support was provided by the Arts Foundation of Southern Arizona and the Tucson Arts Brigade! Thank You!

Additional Writings about the Festival: 

Ajo Arts Weekend: Splashes of Spring Color in the Sonoran Desert