Inspired by Arizona’s past

Ted DeGrazia’s art and architecture are a celebration of local history

DeGrazia Gallery interior hallway
DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun is the creation of an Arizona legend. — Photo courtesy Chris Hubbard/DeGrazia Foundation

Tucked away in the Santa Catalina foothills north of Tucson, DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun spotlights a wondrous selection of Arizona art.

The 13,000-square-foot structure was designed and built in 1965 by local artist Ted DeGrazia. He had the help of several native people who created the building’s traditional adobe bricks on site. The gallery is now a national historic district and sits on 10 acres of desert land with adobe buildings surrounding it.

“Adjacent to the gallery are the original adobe buildings from the 1950s,” said Susan Vance, marketing director for the DeGrazia Foundation. “(They include) the Mission in the Sun, a small adobe chapel DeGrazia built in the 1950s; his original home on the property; the Little Gallery, which is open to visiting artists from November to April; and a cactus courtyard featuring DeGrazia’s life-size bronze sculpture of a Yaqui Indian deer dancer.”

Must-see exhibits

January 2011 will bring an exciting exhibit to the gallery, highlighting the art and music of the artist who founded it.

“We’ll have an exhibit of Ted DeGrazia’s paintings of musicians,” said Vance, “plus the complete collection of paintings from his 1945 master of arts thesis from the University of Arizona, entitled Art and Its Relation to Music in Music Education, along with the CD release of music he wrote in the 1930s.”

Permanent exhibits at the gallery include DeGrazia’s Papago Indian Legends collection—paying tribute to the Papago storytelling tradition—a media room and a consignment room where original DeGrazia art pieces can be purchased. Admission is free, and RVers will be delighted to know that ample parking is also available.

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