The Story Behind Roosevelt Row's Newest Mural

New mural in Roosevelt Row before artists finesse the final details.
New mural in Roosevelt Row before artists finesse the final details. Lynn Trimble
Over Art Detour weekend, 14 artists painted a new collaborative mural at Roosevelt and Second streets in downtown Phoenix.

That's where Mike Davis of the Tempe-based architecture firm DAVIS owns a small corner lot next to monOrchid. For several years, it's served as a temporary park.

The mural was commissioned by Phoenix Center for the Arts, along with Continental Shift, an economic development consulting practice based in the city’s Evans Churchill neighborhood. In coming days, artists will do some finishing touches.

Thomas “Breeze” Marcus was the lead artist for the new mural, which replaces an earlier piece that included works by several artists including Tato Caraveo, JB Snyder, and Gennaro Garcia.
One side of the wall features imagery inspired by the indigenous people who lived in what’s now the city of Phoenix. The other displays various styles of typography.

click to enlarge This new mural in Roosevelt Row is nearing completion. - LYNN TRIMBLE
This new mural in Roosevelt Row is nearing completion.
Lynn Trimble
Breeze pulled in more than a dozen artists, including Lalo Cota, Angel Diaz, Ashley Macias, Douglas Miles, and JB Synder, for the fresh wall.

“We were really inspired by the concept of depicting indigenous culture and paying homage to different lettering styles,” says Lauren Henschen, deputy director for Phoenix Center for the Arts.

Angel Diaz painted an Aztec god. Ashley Macias painted a coyote with a snake. Their work is on the south-facing side of the wall, facing the park.

The north side of the wall faces a parking lot adjacent to Roosevelt Growhouse, an urban garden that has its own plant-related mural. 
This is the latest in a long string of mural projects for Marcus.

He’s painted several around town, using lines that reflect the traditional baskets of his Tohono O’odham heritage. One depicts a rising phoenix in an alley behind the Arizona Latino Arts and Culture Center.

A couple of years back, Marcus organized a mural festival called Paint PHX. Now he’s organizing smaller projects like this one, under the name Paint Phoenix Projects.

He’s hoping this mural will remind people of those who came before them.

“They dug the canals that make the Valley what it is today,” Marcus says. “We should always pay respect to our ancestors.”

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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble