Tucson has always been a hub for public art and culture. During my childhood days, I grew up driving by murals and being able to touch and appreciate them. And every time, I could hear a story come out of the mural(s). The majority of murals I love are based in Chican@ muralismo tradition and include social and political themes affecting the local and global communities. These murals gave me a critical lens and allowed me to see magic in what was once a vacant canvas. Now, during my womanhood years, I crave murals and continue to be in awe of their beauty. Sometimes, I cruise through areas with my family just to find these masterpieces and (re) connect with my favorite murals. It is the best feeling when we are cruising inside our 1957 Chevrolet truck and 1961 Siesta Liner Trailer and spot these murals. My hope is to expose my daughters to the rich history/herstory of murals. This art form is a reflection of us. It is a reflection of the community.
The south side of Tucson is rich with murals. There is so much beauty that stems from them. I am excited to announce there will be a new mural added to the area. Mark your calendar for WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27th from 5:30 – 7:00 pm! Join the community at YWCA’s Southern Tucson Campus – House of Neighborly Service for their ARTS & CULTURE DEDICATION event. Enjoy refreshments, tour the property and hear from the artists about their creative process and inspiration.
@ywcasouthernaz “The Tohono O’odham Nation provided the grant and local artists: Melo Dominguez, Carlos Valenzuela and PennElys Droz worked with the community to collect ideas and neighborhood history that would influence their art. In turn, volunteers donated their time to help the artists make this vision a reality by painting murals, building adobe bricks and helping with the construction of adobe benches and grills.”
We have been following the progress of this beautiful mural by Mel “Melo” Dominguez since our Herstory Pop-Up back in March. Mel “Melo” Dominguez is an artist, muralist from Los Angeles who has lived in Tucson since 2007. Mel’s community outreach began at Self Help Graphics & Art in East Los Angeles where she was a Getty. Mel’s artwork is a direct expression of her Chicano/a culture, political issues, social issues and environmental issues. Mel enjoys using creativity and activism to create a difference throughout the Tucson community. From Los Angeles to Tucson, Mel has produced so much art and continues to impact the youth and communities she works with.
“I went to many community meetings from surrounding neighborhoods asking question about what represented the culture of the neighborhood. I gathered my notes and began to conceptualize. It came together with all the rich history. I invited various groups and ages from throughout the community. Near the ending of the mural and tightening up of lines, I was introduced to a young man from the neighborhood who was just out of prison. This whole mural is about forgiveness. I feel very blessed to have been asked to participate and lead the mural.”
~Mel “Melo” Dominguez
Mi Reina Mobile Boutique is included in the mural and words cannot express the emotions we are feeling! Both my grandparents raised their families just a few streets down from where the mural is located. My dad knows the area like he is the GPS of south Tucson (my husband laughs because my dad does not own a cell phone but knows exactly where he is going). It is crazy to imagine, now we are raising our own family and drive Mi Reina through those same streets my grandparents and great grandparents once did!
Special thank you to local artist, Antonio C. Estrada for sharing these pictures. Antonio grew up in the neighborhood and has supported Mi Reina’s journey since our very first pop-up. It is an honor having him paint these details on our truck + trailer; bringing it to life! If you attend the ARTS & CULTURE DEDICATION ON WEDNESDAY and take a picture of the mural (including the image of Mi Reina) post either on your feed or instastories and tag us; we will send you an appreciation gift! THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who supported and manifested this magical project!
Generations to come will be able to visit the mural and our story will continue! This mural is a cultural blend. It is visual testimony that as part of this society, we are part of its past, its present and its future, something which as a people, from the south side of Tucson will always embrace.