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Art helping revitalize Sierra Vista's West End

Posted: 5:30 AM, Feb 21, 2022
Updated: 2022-02-21 19:14:05-05
Carrie Olaje mural in Sierra Vista

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (KGUN) — Happiness. That's what Carrie Olaje wants people to feel when they see her art in Sierra Vista.

"To me, happiness comes along with those bright colors," said Olaje.

Olaje's art stands out, which is part of the reason the City of Sierra Vista chose her to bring life back to the West End.

"We're reaching out to business owners to encourage them to add public art to blank building walls and spaces, through the partnership program that we offer to properties in the development area," said City of Sierra Vista Community Development Director, Matt McLachlan.

The city has set aside money to make public art a possibility. $10,000 from the city's Community Development Block Grant, and $5,000 donation from Liberty Utilities, helped Olaje bring one of her visions to life.

"Staff is recommending increasing the budget for public art through the redevelopment program. That recommendation will be going to council in the next couple of weeks," said McLachlan.

"The community likes it. That's what we like to see," said Sierra Vista Casitas Managing Partner, Jarrett Reidhead.

Reidhead brought art to his new short term rental property, Sierra Vista Casitas.

"We've taken something that was dilapidated and ugly. We made it beautiful. We made it functional and nice. I think it's going to draw the attention of the tenants who want to be in this area," said Reidhead.

Reidhead, and other nearby business owners, are excited to see the city invest in the West End with a revitalization project that includes more than just art.

"It really lets people know that the city wants to take care of this side of town. There are a lot of mom and pop shops. We want to make sure that they have business," said Southwest Business Center Plaza Manager, Nicole Perez.

The goal is to keep growing. It's something Olaje is looking forward to helping the city do one mural at a time.

"It really puts a smile on people's faces. Whether they are dog walking, walking with their kids or just going to work. That's what I think I appreciate the most about doing it. It's about seeing the joy it brings to people," said Olaje.