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Painting for community: New murals in Oro Valley welcome people to town

Welcome to Oro Valley mural
Posted at 6:37 AM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 08:55:38-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — In the corner of Oro Valley Marketplace, a vibrant mural reads "Welcome to Oro Valley" as if on the cover of a vintage postcard. It's one of two newest murals in the area.

The Town of Oro Valley, Visit Tucson and Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance joined forces to commission the mural from local artist Pen Macias. For Macias, she couldn't be prouder of the work she produced. After months of sketching, revising and planning, the piece was done at the end of October.

"The last thing that I did on the last day was write the names of the sponsors on the wall," she said. "And when I finished that last letter I had such a sense of accomplishment that we got the whole project done that I’m still riding on."

The mural's letters depict different iconic elements in Oro Valley and Southern Arizona, from cactus blooms to cycling in the mountains.

For the town, Visit Tucson interim president Felipe Garcia said public art like this is a way to bring the community together and to make the town a home.

"It provides pride for people in the community," Garcia said. "I've talked to architects here and around the country and they say that when you provide public art, people take care of the spaces around them and they feel proud about what they have."

He said there's actually a way that the town requires public art. It's called the 1% Oro Valley Public Art Program and it requires that commercial developers put aside at least 1% of their project's budget for creating public art. Garcia said public art is about connecting the community together in a special way.

"There is a story behind the art in town and an artist behind it," he said. "You have the opportunity to stop by, safely of course, and look at the art and even look up the artist to learn more about the different elements to it."