Ajo Street Art Happening — Part 8 (Wrap-up)

Although a few murals are still works in progress, most of them in Plaza Alley are complete. If you haven’t been down to see them yet, you’re in for a treat when you do.

For a week in mid-March Ajo hosted the first Community Arts Gathering which brought artists from near and far to participate in this Street Art Happening.

Scroll through the earlier posts and you’ll see many pieces of the work unfold. These pictures show some of the latest updates. (Some artist names are still missing. If you know who did the work, please contact me so I can include the names.)

Many thanks to Mike (DaWolf) Baker, the driving force who organized the amazing performance by these talented and energetic street artists — professionals and novices alike.

And many thanks to ISDA for allowing them the space to create. It’s a wonderful example of what can happen when communities work together.

This might just be the start of something big!

Ajo Street Art Happening — Part 7

Although artists have been working in the alley for about a week, new work is still showing up. I discovered these 2 pieces this morning. (If you know who painted them perhaps you can drop me a line as I’d like to credit their work.)

Here are some updates since yesterday …

The street art will continue over the coming days. If you haven’t had an up-close-and-personal look yet, you’re missing out on a great adventure. Do drop by.

This amazing gallery of street art is part of the Community Arts Gathering which wraps up today. The Gathering was a wonderful event filled with ideas, energy and talent provided by locals as well as artists from other parts of the state and the country.

Many thanks to all the presenters and the attendees. And a standing ovation to all the volunteers who worked long hours to make this happen. This is truly an amazing town. 🙂

Ajo Street Art Happening — Part 6

This morning was a perfect time to visit Plaza Alley — the air was still cool and the light was just right for viewing.

Among the first artists to arrive were a number of students from the nearby high school. This is definitely a “group” effort, as it seems different students arrive each day to work on the mural. Click any image for a larger view.

The youngest artist at this event is two-year-old Silas. His mural is right at ground level, perfect for short arms and short legs.

Changes since yesterday …

A new mural started since my visit yesterday …

IMG_2962

If you don’t feel like trekking down to the alley in the heat of day, come down after dark. There’s been some great live music in the evening along with art.

Ajo Street Art Happening — Part 5

We wandered through Plaza Alley last evening, my first chance to see the artists and their work at night.

The first artist I spotted was stretched out flat on several pieces of cardboard in order to do the lettering at the bottom of the Desert Senita mural.

At the other end of the alley I found an artist working almost in the dark, the only light was from a street light. (The photo actually makes it look much brighter than it was.)

Neoglyphix’s Dwayno and Jamie, who’d just started their work that morning, had already finished it by the time I arrived. What an amazing “landscape” of color and imagery.

Clicking an image will give you a larger view.

I headed back to the alley this afternoon. It was like an oven but despite the heat, I found at least half a dozen artists at work.

I met several new artists and had a chance to chat briefly with them about their work.

Jesse Ismael Reyna, originally from Phoenix and now living in Ajo, is working with colored markers to create his mural. He was using just three colors and yet by careful blending, it looked like more.

Tiffany Farrar, with AmericCorps, is working with ISDA for 6 weeks. She chose one of the most interesting (and to my mind, more difficult) parts of the Alley — a mesh grate. I watched her briefly last night, painting each little piece. Today she was cutting out pop cans to add to her design.

A little further down the alley I found Porter McDonald, an artist and photographer from Tucson who often focuses his work on migration and border issues.

On the wall next to Porter I met Tanner Lee, an AmeriCorps volunteer from Connecticut. He took a lot of sculpting classes in high school and that, he says, is where he’s most comfortable. “I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I like painting but it always turns out really abstract compared to what I want it to be.”

He described his plans for this mural so I’m eager to see how it turns out.

Tanner Lee

Also seen on my trip today …

Ajo Street Art Happening — Part 4

I wasn’t in Plaza Alley last night but I hear it was a great time! Art, artists, music, lights — wow.

Tonight will be lots of fun too! As part of the ongoing Community Arts Gathering, the Plaza will be hosting Mexican food vendors, a beer garden and art exhibits (in addition to the work going on in the alley).

Ballet Folkloric de Ajo will perform outdoors from 6 to 7, followed by Los Cenzontles Performing Ensemble from 7 to 9. This is open to everyone so we hope you can be there too!

Meanwhile here are some shots I took earlier today as I wandered through Plaza Alley. (Click on any photo for a slide show.)

Ajo Street Art Happening — Part 3

It was a windy day in Ajo but that didn’t seem to hinder the artists working in the Plaza alley. I was amazed to see how some of the works had progressed since yesterday.

There were a lot of visitors today — some sauntered over after the Second Saturday and Ajo Regional Food Festival festivities, others came just to see the art and meet the artists.

Mike (DaWolf) Baker said some of the artists were working until nearly midnight last night. Some people brought refreshments, there was music and an all-round good evening. If you aren’t busy tonight, check out the art in the alley. 🙂

 

Ajo Street Art Happening — Part 2

It’s amazing how much has changed in the alley since I stopped by yesterday afternoon.

After I left yesterday, Eileen Costuck arrived and painted in the letters for the Desert Artist Guild mural. This morning Claire Bistline and Terry Gonzales began adding bright colors to the design.

Mike (DaWolf) Baker was working on small mural halfway down the alley, then stopped to help an artist mark off the wall for her piece. Several visitors wandered in off the street and were delighted to see the work taking shape — and to talk with the artists.

Running over the next 5 days or so, this is definitely a must-see event. Amble through the alley. Or bring a chair and watch for awhile. Everyone is welcome!

Ajo Street Art Project — It’s Happening!

Ajo’s first Community Arts Gathering starts this Friday evening with a potluck to welcome visiting artists and give them an opportunity to meet their Ajo counterparts. It’s gonna be great to see so many new faces.

One of the most visible and exciting parts of the Gathering will be the Street Art Happening. Mike (DaWolf) Baker kicked off the event earlier this month when he completed his latest mural right along Highway 85.

Since then he’s been over-seeing the preparations for both local and visiting artists who’ll be contributing their work to once-dingy walls that line the alley between the Plaza and the old warehouse.

I stopped by for a look this afternoon and found one artist from Alaska working on her mural. Several designs have already been added to the walls and more are on the way.

Artists will be painting here for the next week. They may be working at all hours, maybe even at night, so chances are good you’ll have a chance to see great art in the making!

 

DaWolf’s Newest Mural

Whoo-hoo! Ain’t this gorgeous!

Mike (DaWolf) Baker finished his mural a few days ago and what an eye-catcher it is. You can check out the beginning stages of this work in an earlier post.

This piece is just the first of many that will begin to appear on the surrounding walls of the alley behind the Plaza and the adjoining warehouse in the coming weeks — the Street Art Happening is part of the Community Arts Gathering March 14 to 18.

It’s going to be wonderful time — we hope you can join us!

20 Years and Counting

The Ajo Council of the Fine Arts — which includes the Ajo Community Players and the Desert Artist Guild — has a long and colorful history. Plays, musicals, fine arts — these and more have added to life in Ajo for many years.

This month some of that history is being featured at the Ajo library. The display kicked off Monday with an opening reception. Guests got to browse through photo albums and scrap books that captured some of the fun from past performances. Several costumed actors were also on hand to meet visitors.

The show continues through the end of March.