Everyone’s an Artist in Ajo (6)

If you thought you were not an artist, simply go to Ajo, Arizona and you will soon find out that you are wrong.

A Methodist and a Catholic church side-by-side

For example, I was inspired to sketch the two main churches framing the Curley School and the A mountain behind it while sitting on the grass in the central plaza. Since I had no paper, I sketched them on the back of a Mexican Chiapas Curley Coffee sample I bought for my brother and white tepary beans I am bringing back to cook with my mom.

The artists of Ajo, especially at the Curley School, also clearly draw inspiration from the dramatic surroundings of the desert. One artist makes stuffed javelinas that decorate the beds of the conference center and are also for sale at the Curley School store and online. Others compose poetry about area surrounding Ajo and its history, often with references to the Tohono O’odham.

I’m not sure why Ajo made me want to put pen to paper and relish the surrounding beauty, but from the art shops and the Curley school I clearly am not alone. Perhaps, it is the residents’ attitude that the town has a special history and will have an exciting future that evokes the need to capture the essence of the town on paper. Yet, that seems too concrete because to me Ajo felt magical. Maybe, Ajo was my oasis in the desert. A place of rejuvenation and relaxation to recover from the stress of worrying about rattlesnakes and scorpions on the reservation and from the previous school year.

3 Replies to “Everyone’s an Artist in Ajo (6)”

  1. I totally agree with you Kathryn, Ajo was an awesome place. It’s very intriguing to see a recovering mining economy place so much emphasis on artistic expression. With the re-purposing of the Curley School as low income housing for artists, the development of several local art galleries, and the encouragement for mural creation in downtown, the area really seems to be thriving with creativity. So it’s not surprising to me that you felt such a strong desire to produce your own artwork! I’d love to go back for an extended stay sometime in the future.

    1. I am beginning to think of you as one of the few Renaissance persons that I know. You certainly have interests spread all over the sciences, humanities, are arts. I hope that you continue your varied passions at and beyond W&L.

  2. Love the sketches and even better the choice of surfaces on which to draw them.

    I’m so terrible about picking out presents when I go on these trips. These are pure brilliance! The locally produced foods were great ideas for gifts to bring back a little taste of Ajo to your family and sketches give them an extra personal touch. My guess is your mom never throws away the bean package. Might steal this idea. Hope that’s OK.

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