Visual Arts

Calle 16 Mural Project Heads to Barrio Cafe at Sky Harbor International Airport

For months, the team of muralists and painters behind Calle 16 have gathered at their headquarters to paint a tribute to their neighborhood.

Gennaro Garcia, Lalo Cota, Angel Diaz, Breeze, and others completed a 27-by-7-foot canvas that will be plastered to the wall in the Silvana Salcido Esparza's airport satellite of Barrio Cafe.

Esparza founded Calle 16 Mural Project in 2010 with the hopes of bringing the neighborhood together and showcasing its culture in a positive and public way.

Garcia gives a tour of the canvas, pointing out the obvious landmarks: Por Vida Gallery, Barrio Cafe, Deportes America, and La Azteca Bakery, the bakery owned and operated by Esparza's family. In the distance are painted train cars, the South Mountain range, and a very Arizona sunset, painted by Breeze.

The overall design was inspired by the iconic "Greetings from Phoenix Arizona" postcard, with a few personal touches. If you get closer to the painting, he says, it's a bit of a "Where's Waldo?".

You can spot each of the painting's artists hanging out near the restaurant, in the gallery, in a low rider. Mexican muralists Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Jose Clemente Orozco are sitting at a table. Frida is seated on a bench.

Esparza's Barrio Cafe will open at Terminal 4 along with other local restaurants in June (more on that on Chow Bella). A specific day has yet to be set in stone due to construction and airport schedules.

"All of the guys involved absolutely love this neighborhood," she says. "And now we can show it off to the thousands who pass through the airport everyday."

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Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton