|Project Organizers in front of Miss Hazzards New Ajo Mural|
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.|
|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|
|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