TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Many may remember the "I am Tucson" mosaic mural downtown. It went up in 2012 at the foot of Tucson's tallest building, now referred to as One South Church.
A project of Greater Tucson Leadership, the mosaic mural was created by hundreds of volunteers, incorporating thousands of personalized tiles—each representing a unique slice of the city's culture, community and uniqueness.
It stood as a centerpiece of Downtown Tucson's mural scene for only seven years before being removed for a new development.
Now the non-profit Ben's Bells is re-making the mosaic as part of its 20th anniversary celebration.
The new mosaic mural is being built at the front entrance of the Tucson Convention Center, again by community volunteers.
"Re-creating the 'I am Tucson' mural has always been something we have wanted to do," said Ben's Bells Executive Director Helen Gomez. "It has taken a year of planning and months of volunteers coming into the Downtown Studio to create mosaic tiles. We're grateful to the community and to TCC for embracing the importance of visual reminders to practice kindness."
This isn't the first foray into mosaic mural-making for Ben's Bells. The organization is best known for distributing bells around the Tucson community as 'intentional acts of kindness' in remembrance of the death of founder Jeannette Maré’s young son Ben.
But in 2009, Ben's Bells started work on its first large-scale mural at Main Gate Square and has since created numerous "Be Kind" murals in Arizona and Connecticut, most often seen at schools and community organizations.
Photo: Ben's Bells
The effort to re-create the 'I am Tucson' mural at the TCC is again a community effort. The individual mural pieces were created by students, local artists and others, including, once again, members of Greater Tucson Leadership.
If you're interested in volunteering, there are still spots available at the Ben's Bells website.
Anne Simmons is the digital executive producer for KGUN 9. Anne got her start in television while still a student at the University of Arizona. Before joining KGUN, she managed multiple public access television stations in the Bay Area and has worked as a video producer in the non-profit sector. Share your story ideas and important issues with Anne by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by connecting on Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.