Today was phase one of a community arts mural that is Liz’s brainchild. Borrowing from her previous experience with the ArtWorks, TeenArts, and A.C.E. (Art Creates Excellence) programs, she recommended a tried and true project to bring the Apache Junction community into an arts project – a mixed media mural.
Gustavo McGrew donated the three panels of chipboard and the paint. Mountain Health and Wellness is sponsoring three farmers markets, the first that debuted today, in the EarthHeart Park. The park and the farmer’s market are Gustavo’s work, as he takes the center beyond offering mere social services.
This morning Liz and I arrived, bright ans early, at EarthHeart Park to set up camp. Jeff Danford and Gail macFarland met us, Jeff and Gail brought the tent and two tables. As a school teacher, Gail was able to rein in the children. Jeff is an abstract artist, and added his own personal touch to some of the pieces.
The mural is sponsored by SACA (Superstition Arts and Cultural Alliance); we four are on the board of directors. Scary, huh? SACA is closely aligned with Mountain Health and Wellness, as Gustavo is on our board also, and we meet in their building monthly.
My main concern this morning was that we would have a lack of community support – that we would not have enough children or adults willing to help paint the shapes. I am happy to report that my fears were unwarranted.
Of course Liz, Gail, Jeff and I did our share of painting, Jeff with his own paint splatter technique.
Before noon, we had most of the pieces fully painted and waiting to dry. They are now sheltered in our car port, waiting some fine tuning and several coats of poly-urethane.
The Farmer’s Market was more of a fair – with artists and artisans showing their wares, local honey, beef jerky made from free range cattle, homeopathic goods, organic eggs and local grown produce. One table was a non-profit from south Phoenix area. They create community gardens in areas where the only markets are overpriced corner stores that charge exorbitant prices for vegetables, if they offer them at all. When a McDonald’s cheeseburger is cheaper than healthy salads, you don’t have to wonder why obesity and diabetes are national health problems.
The community gardens provide inexpensive produce tot he families involved. The excess is then sold at markets such as ours today for a donation. They offered fresh beets, kale, collard greens and zucchini.
But off my soapbox – we have two panels left to cut and paint. Then the free-form shapes will be joined together to create a mixed-media style mural, to be installed at EarthHeart Park. Gustavo envisions much more public art in the park – this will be the first of hopefully many installations.