Visual Arts

Raul Gonzalez at 11th and Roosevelt Streets

It's about time Phoenix sees some serious mural love. In the interest of giving credit to their artists and because we're losing track of the times we've said, "Woah, when did that go up?", we bring you Mural City, a series on the murals springing up around town -- their artists, their hosts and their inspirations.

You may have noticed that the expansive Knowledge Breaks Down Barriers Created by Ignorance mural on 11th and Roosevelt streets isn't signed.

Turns out that was intentional; one of the main folks behind the creation of the expansive painting, Raul Gonzalez, isn't too keen on recognition.

The Los Angeles-born Gonzalez, who's the executive art director of California-based Mictlan Murals, has painted murals in his home state as well as in Arizona, Mexico, and El Salvador. In almost every case, the works are neighborhood-improving, community-based pieces that see many paintbrush-wielding hands transforming outdoor walls.

For Gonzalez, to punctuate a piece's finishing touches with his signature wouldn't be appropriate. According to the painter, "If we put our name on it, then it becomes the artist's piece and not the community's art," he says. "We want people to focus on the message and not the artist."

For Knowledge Breaks Down Barriers Created By Ignorance, Gonzalez worked with the Phoenix chapters of Youth in Action and Chicanos Por La Causa. Thanks to Gonzalez's tutelage, kids from the Garfield, Coronado, and Creighton neighborhoods -- mostly 12- to 16-year-olds who are involved with Youth in Action's peer leadership program -- helped to design, sketch, and paint the mural that's located on the north side of Roosevelt just east of 11th Street.

The work of art, completed less than two weeks ago, will be celebrated during an unveiling party, scheduled to take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, September 18.

Here are some more looks at the mural (photos courtesy of Raul Gonzalez):