Giving back to the community, students from the University of Arizona School of Art will paint an 80-foot-long Sonoran Desert mural at a Tucson HUD-funded affordable housing community for older adults.
On Dec. 2, and Dec. 5, a neat, yet empty wall at the B’nai B’rith Covenant House, 4414 E. Second St., will be transformed into a scene with saguaros, mountains and wildlife created by students in Associate Professor Kelly Leslie’s “Clients in the Community” class (ART 465).
“Bringing in young artists who are enthusiastic about providing visual enhancement to the center is, in and of itself, life-affirming to our senior residents,” said Abbie Stone, co-president of the Covenant Board of Directors. “And inclusion of all cultural points of view in art is important to Tucson as a community.”
Each student in Leslie’s class presented a design to residents, who voted on their favorite. Valeria Jimenez won the competition, and the entire class will assist her in painting the mural, which includes a roadrunner, coyote, cardinal, lizard, hummingbird, javelina and quail.
Leslie, who chairs the school’s Illustration, Design and Animation program, is an award-winning artist in her own right. She designed the poster “Unity,” which was displayed in the international traveling exhibition, “Posters for Peace,” in Mexico, South Korea and the U.S.
“I encourage my students to engage with and see themselves as part of a regional and global community where their skills can help elevate those communities,” Leslie said. “I’m an advocate of teaching design as a collaborative practice … fostering empathy for the audience of their creative endeavors.”
The Covenant House aims to provide not only housing, but a sense of community – and inspiration – to the residents of the multidenominational living center, Stone said.
“The residents are super-excited about the project; they’ll get to view the artistic process take place, literally, in their own backyard,” she said.
B’nai B’rith sponsors the Covenant House, and its board is a non-profit 501(c)(3), where donations can be made via the website, https://covenanthouseoftucson.org/giving/. Volunteer opportunities are also available.