Wednesday, June 6, 2018

2018 Mural Festival: Sugar Hill Tucson, AZ

2018 Neighborhood Mural Festival April 13-15

On April 13-15 artists and neighbors gathered for the first ever neighborhood based mural festival in Tucson, AZ. This festival was a huge success, with fourteen new murals created. Our theme was voices of Sugar Hill neighbors. Gathering and listening to these stories is an ongoing process. What we are learning, we are painting. These stories define who we are as a people, as a community and city. What makes us unique and creates an ambiance of tranquility? Knowing our stories, our roots is critical to maintaining our identity. 

The Festival came with a few unexpected perks. Famed muralist David Tineo arrived to paint a mural and canvases he left for youth to finish. Imagine getting to finish a master artists work as a young artist. Artists painted, and cleaned the area. We also cleaned up the Bronx Wash area, removing many bags of trash form the site. The other surprise was an intervention by the Arts Foundation for Southern Arizona, who cite an anonymous call "reporting" our murals a month before the festival, causing a delay to this day (as of 6/7/18). We learned about Tucson's written cultural policy (COT Administrative Directive 7) and started the process of advocating for neighborhood arts resources. While our festival received no funding, we realized that resources do exist, but are being diverted to expensive works of public art that often don't reflect the needs, concerns, voices, suggestions and history of residents. The delay was a shock and disappointment for artists and neighbors, but as always we took a bad situation and made some good come from it. 

We have more neighborhood Story Circles planned for Sugar Hill. One of the muralists, Sadie Shaw, became president of the North West Neighborhood Association, 13 new murals were created, the once secretive AFSA Artist "pre-qualified" list is now open for all to apply to, and conversations about Arts Based Solutions to Community Needs are being discussed. A door has opened to the AFSA, and our work falling more into synchronicity with each conversation. In our work there are always unexpected adventures, twists and turns. We live in a community that values civic participation, and if you find a problem and are willing to help solve it good things emerge.

Sadie Shaw: Family Stories
Teresa Diane Altamirano
Annalisa Loevenguth
David Tineo
Sabrina Vincent
Tanya Alvarez
Delbert Antone
Xaivier Ringer
Jessa Hudgens
Julian Argote

Caressa Wittwer
Michael Schwartz - El Hombre De Maiz (for my father)
Sharon Pederson
We were shocked and saddened that our local arts agency (Arts Foundation for Southern Arizona) gave us a multi-month run around, many artists didn't participate due to lack of wall space.