Friday, March 25, 2011

Community Mural Paint Day Beautifies and Unifies Barrio Centro

On Saturday, April 2, 2011 from 10am to 2pm at Lucky Wishbone 2712 E. 22nd Steet the Barrio Centro Association , Tucson Arts Brigade, Lucky Wishbone and Howenstine High Magnet School will host a Community Mural Paint Day. The 176 foot neighborhood history mural was designed over a sixteen month period by Barrio Centro residents of all ages. Lead TAB mural Artist Michael Schwartz, neighbors, Howenstine High Magnet School teacher Tempest Alabi-Isama and students are leading the painting process that will continue through the end of May.

This project is part of a new city wide TAB anti-graffiti network initiative entitled “Beautify and Unify”. The Beautify and Unify program is a series of murals that are being designed and painted by youth, adults, and elders throughout Tucson. This participant-driven intergenerational process includes Elder Shares, Neighborhood Arts Workshops, Mural Workshops for Youth, and Community Paint Days.

This timely new program offers a viable solution to graffiti, social isolation and property damage by working with our community to collaboratively create works of art. TAB employs a fun, inclusive civic engagement and approval process. Our curriculum integrates the City of Tucson process for accepting works of art and the TPAC Public Art and Community Design Committee process. This program also includes a financial literacy and workforce development, youth artists are paid a stipend and help in opening a savings account. Funding for the Barrio Centro History Mural has been made available by Pro Neighborhoods, Tucson Pima Arts Council (TPAC)/ Kresge in Tucson, Lucky Wishbone and the Union Pacific Foundation.

Barrio Centro Association was established as a neighborhood association in 2003. German Quiroga, Chairman Barrio Centro Association states; “Graffiti abatement has always been one of our goals, along with traffic calming. It is my belief that we as a community must engage our youths in worthwhile activities to steer them away from non-productive ones. Every life we touch, the better our community is.”

The project started when Officer Danielson, TPD, proposed a beautification project along the Aviation Bikeway at our September 2009 BCA meeting and recommended Tucson Arts Brigade. At our November 2009 meeting, the Tucson Arts Brigade presented a slide show about their Mural/ Graffiti diversion program to the neighborhood. The response was overwhelmingly in support and a planning committee was formed. After sixteen months of design workshops, interviews and surveys the mural has been outlined on the wall in preparation for Community Paint Day on April 2. Visit the project blog at: