The Spirit of Arizona Blog Series:                                     DeGrazia Gallery In The Sun DeGrazia Galley In The SunKnown today as the "Legendary Landmark Of Art and Architecture", DeGrazia Galley In Sun began as a small construction project in the early 1950s. Designed and built by the acclaimed Arizona artist, Ted DeGrazia, who developed his "Gallery In The Sun" into a 10-acre National Historic District. 

DeGrazia believed "my best painting is the next one.  I haven't painted it yet.  I am only in competition with myself and that's tough, because I believe that each thing I do must be better in some way than the last".  While that may have been the case with his works of art, the heritage he left behind in his biggest creation, the gallery, is truly a masterpiece that has no equal. 

Following a regional tradition of building a chapel or shrine in thanks for the land, DeGrazia's vision was to create an adobe mission built from the ground floor up at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains.  The artist made design sketches then gathered a crew of friends who made traditional adobe bricks with soil mixed with the water DeGrazia hauled up in his Model A. The bricks were baked onsite by the Arizona sun.


With its rock floors, interior murals and open-air roof, the Mission in the Sun was built in honor of Padre Kino and dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe, whose image DeGrazia painted onto the adobe altar.  The iron door, a replica of the Territorial Yuma prison gate, opened to the public in 1965, and the tradition continues as visitors from around the world flock to this legendary landmark of art and architecture that's now surrounded by a booming metropolis.

There are six permanent collections of paintings that trace historical events and native cultures of the Southwest. Rotating exhibitions display some of the 15,000 DeGrazia originals housed at the gallery, including oils, watercolors, sketches, serigraphs, lithographs, sculptures, ceramics and jewelry. A consignment room displays DeGrazia originals available for purchase, while the gift shop offers a wide selection of reproductions.

        JUDI MONDAY, CRS         


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