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Santa Theresa's mission more important now than ever

You may have noticed colorful mosaic murals around town like the ones at Catalina State Park, Tucson Botanical Gardens and Tohono Chul .
Posted at 7:10 AM, Jan 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 09:18:40-05

You may have noticed colorful mosaic murals around town like the ones at Catalina State Park, Tucson Botanical Gardens and Tohono Chul. These murals come from Santa Theresa Tile Works, a workshop that's been around since the late 1980s and is now dedicated to giving back to kinds in need.

"He had a garden in our backyard so, we thought it would be a nice way to remember him." Caitlin Myrdal is working on a special gift to remember her father that passed away two years ago.

“I realized you could come here and do your own work and kind of take it home and it's for a good cause so, I figured it was the perfect mix of both worlds for us," Myrdal said. That perfect mix is right here inside of Santa Theresa Tile Works.

“We’re really small. Our word travels by word of mouth and what people see in the U of A and the public art places that we’ve done," said Keyla Niebla with Santa Theresa.

Beautiful works of art that are giving back to the kids in our own community that need it the most at imago Dei Middle School.

"Anytime a customer buys anything or something, what you just bought just went to uniforms or food or something like that."

Niebla knows first hand. She now works at Santa Theresa, but was once a student at Imago Dei. "They have an amazing graduate program. They are helping me with college. Check in with me. Not many people in college say, yea I go back to my middle school.”

Whether you want to create a special item or buy one of the mosaic pieces on the walls or shelves, all the proceeds go back to Imago Dei. The middle school is a small tuition free private school for low income families.

"They’re amazing. They help out my family with immigration status and stuff like that," Niebla added.

A small place with a big mission. Despite Covid, Santa Theresa has still been able to continue doing what it does best. "Thankfully, with Covid, we’ve maintained work and artists have been working from home.”

One big change is workshops that bring in groups are cancelled for right now.

“Strictly by appointment only and if any walk ins come in, we try to ask the people if they’re comfortable with people coming in," Niebla said.

People just like Caitlin who want to get creative. “I wanted to do it myself instead of someone else do it for us since we wanted to include little things that were special," Myrdal said. Special touches that will always help to remember her father.

"What I really like about Santa Theresa is that there is a lot of Tucson themed tiles. We have kind of the desert theme over here. We have a turtle so, I included a turtle. There’s a javelina and there’s a beer bottle because why not? Dads like beer.” Cheers to that.

You can contact Santa Theresa to set up an appointment to come in.