Yuma artists team seeks helpers for ambitious mural project

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Yuma, Ariz. – The Yuma team for the Arizona Creative Communities Institute (AZ CCI) has created a unique project that aims to assemble murals across the community. But the project is so big, the local arts team is counting on volunteers and invitees to make it happen. And no artistic or painting experience is required.

Starting Oct. 14, painting will begin throughout Yuma County on three large murals: One in San Luis, one near the Big Curve in Yuma, and one in Yuma’s Foothills.

Each mural will be ‘assembled’ by 200 “golden ticket” invitees from all regions of the county, with a goal of having participation from across the county and across walks of life.

Within the next week, invitees will receive an ‘art summons’ in the mail – an invitation to paint a gridded portion of one of the three murals. Each invitation will include a golden puzzle piece and instructions indicating which mural to go to and how to participate.

In total, approximately 1,500 mailers will be sent to area residents.

Individuals who would like to receive an invitation can enter their name directly here by Oct. 10.

“Each envelope mailed, itself, is a collectible work of art that was created with a custom linocut and stamped by volunteer artists and community members,” explained Arts and Culture Program Manager Lindsay Benacka, a member of the Yuma AZ CCI team. “In addition to the golden puzzle piece and instructions on how to patriciate, the summons also includes a coloring page. One of our goals was to make a special and fun package that anyone would be excited to receive.”

Participants will each have a two-week window to paint their piece of the puzzle. And if they don’t get around to it, forget, or are simply not interested, well, that’s actually part of the plan.

“Of course, not all invitees will attend a painting session, so there will be ‘gaps’ in the murals,” said Isaac Russell, team member and director of Littlewood Fine Art and Community Co-Op. “These are intended and important. They will cause our community to ask questions about the ‘gaps’ between people and places in Yuma County – why they exist and what they mean.”

Team members of the Yuma AZ CCI group include Benacka; Russell; Cari Jean Nelson, former ceramics instructor, Kofa High School; and Maria McKivergan, owner and licensed professional counselor, Desert Counseling.

Artists involved in the project’s concept and design include Brad Downey, Lia Littlewood, and Lucinda Yrene.

“The AZ CCI Yuma group hopes these conversations change the landscape of our communities as much as the murals change the faces of the buildings they’re on. Through art, the making and discussion of it, we can all find common ground and, ultimately, become a stronger, more vibrant, and cohesive community,” said the Yuma AZ CCI team.

The invitations contain additional information for participants. If you want to follow the project’s progress or inquire about an invitation, you may:

  • Call the Yuma Art Center at 928-373-5202.
  • Call the Littlewood Fine Art and Community Co-Op at 928-276-3724.
  • Visit the project on Facebook at facebook.com/DIYMurals.

Arizona Creative Communities Institute is funded by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, ASU Herberger Institute and the Southwest Folklife Alliance.

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