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 …

Art Under the Arches

Last week’s Second Saturday was extra special with the addition of many new artists showcasing their work.

Although artists have always been a part of Second Saturday, Art Under the Arches brought out many artists who hadn’t shown their work here before. They set up their displays on both sides of the Plaza and on the grass.

We hope to see some of these artists back for 4th Saturday, February 23, when the Farmers’ Market folks will be back with more delicious produce.

DAG Juried Show & Sale

The Desert Artist Guild’s 5th Annual Show & Sale opened last Friday evening to a full house — and what an evening it was!

Planning for the show began last October and the work definitely paid off. Artists entered more than 40 pieces of work. This year we invited two jurors to evaluate the work, Leia Maahs from the Tucson Pima Arts Council and Marla Ettenberg, from Ajo. They did a wonderful job and provided artists with written feedback on their submissions.

Several artists volunteered to lay out the show. Show chairperson Jolene Northup and husband Ed hung the pieces. Wendee Cloutier and one of her granddaughters handed out invitations to people at IGA on Friday afternoon.

The opening drew a huge crowd and the Plaza Gallery was filled to capacity. Lots of fun for all!

One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of the awards. Jim Reiman, President of the Ajo Council for the Fine Arts, presented the President’s Award to Jolene Northup for her fiber/acrylic piece “Pink Cliffs on Spruce Sound”.

People’s Choice, chosen by people at the opening, went to Val Uschuk for her piece “Sunbather.” Jurors’ Honorable mention went to two artists, Jacqueline Andes, for her painting “Buck Jones” and Robert Sorrels, for his photograph “Forgotten Dead.” Best of Show, chosen by the jurors, went to Jovita Wallace for her painting “Base Vibration.”

Door prizes, also won that evening, were donated by Rich Davis (an oil painting titled “Hat Mountain”) and a hand-dyed, handwoven scarf by Jolene Northup. The Ajo Council for the Fine Arts also donated 2 tickets to the upcoming performance by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra in Ajo on February 19.

Christmas Art Show

The annual Christmas Art Show & Sale at the Plaza Gallery opened in Ajo last Friday — and by all accounts it was a lot of fun.

I visited the show today and was impressed by the work. Several artists surprised me with the new directions they’re taking with their art. It’s well worth a visit.

Here are a few of the pieces featured in this year’s show. Also, don’t forget to check out the display case just inside Art Stop — it features small items that are also part of the show, including some gorgeous jewelry by Mari Zimmermann.