De Grazia Gallery in the Sun

Date and Venue 10 March 2014 | De Grazia Gallery in the Sun, North Swan Avenue, Tucson, AZ

Reviewer Patricia Cassidy

I revisited the delightful De Grazia Gallery In the Sun in Tucson recently to enjoy, once again, his collection, and to walk around the grounds, which are full of whimsy- recycled objects turned into sculptures. I have visited many Art Galleries in the USA this one is one of the most unique. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, the doors opening to the Main Gallery – doors from a Mine shaft in Arizona - are indicative of his past (he was raised in a Copper Mining area in Arizona) and the ambiance inside and out reflects his feelings of the South West – he build it so his paintings would feel “good inside” and surrounds them with a Chapel and other nooks and crannies on this beautiful 10 acre site. It is home to 15,000 plus original works of art including oil paintings, watercolors, ceramics and sculptures. I wanted to enjoy the Gallery but also to see - who was the local Tucson artist picked to showcase their art?

DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, Tucson, Arizona
Photo: Patricia Cassidy

The mission of the DeGrazia Foundation is the preservation and perpetuation of the artistic and cultural legacy of Marion and Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia. One of the ways they continue their support is to invite local artists to the Gallery to show their work for a two week period.

Ted DeGrazia is a formidable talent in the Tucson area. A legend. He was born and raised in a Mining Camp in Arizona and later went on to get degrees from the University of Arizona – including a Master of Arts. He visited Mexico to work with mural masters Diego Rivera and Jose Orozco. His paintings of “Los Ninos” (The Children – children with no faces) are familiar to most art lovers, and the image was chosen as a UNICEF greeting card in 1960 and sold millions. Apart from his blazing artistic talent, he was quite the eccentric - to protect inheritance taxes in 1976 DeGrazia hauled away 100 of his paintings on horseback to the Superstition Mountains, near Phoenix, and set them ablaze.

The artist in residence for my visit was a local Gourd Artist named Wanda M Ryckman. Her art was quite magical – a shoulder bag gourd (complete with a lining) adorned with the magnificent Saguaro was particularly beautiful, and a gourd with De Grazia’s etchings atop were stand outs but there were many beautiful works of gourd art. The two week showing is a great way for a local artist to find a wider audience as people come from all over the world to view De Grazia’s work.

It is always a pleasure to return to this Gallery – every visit I see something new. Not just the works of art inside but the recycled and unique objects-d’art outside. I will return…

© 2014 Patricia Cassidy