Directions: The Degrazia Gallery in the Sun is located on North Swan Road off of Skyline Drive. From the University of Arizona take Campbell Road north to Skyline Drive. Turn right. Follow until Skyline Drive turns off on the left. Drive until you reach Swan Road and turn right. The gallery will be on the left.
Brief History: Ted Degrazia was born in Morenci, Arizona After briefly working in the copper mines, he moved to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona where he earned a degree in education. After earning his degree, Ted moved to Bisbee where he continued to paint. In 1942, while on a trip to Mexico, Ted met Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente and soon became an intern. After he returned to Tucson Mr. Degrazia built his first small studio off of Campbell Avenue. He was not well-known and the gallery received minimal visitation. After marrying Marrion Sheret in 1947, Ted brought 10 acres in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains to build the Degrazia Gallery in Sun. His main goal was to build an adobe mission to honor Padre Kino and the Virgin Guadelupe. At first there was a small gallery where Mr. Degrazia displayed his art. After he earned more money Ted built a bigger more permanent studio. His fame grew when NBC and National Geographic profiled him on a TV show. In 1957 UNICEF chose the painting "Los Ninos" for a holiday christmas card which sold millions of copies throughout the world. Mr. Degrazia is famous later in his life when he hauled 100 paintings into the Superstition Mountains and set them on fire to protest inheritance taxes on art. Over his life Degrazia used various mediums including watercolor, oil, sculpture and ceramics.
There is plenty to see at the Gallery of the Sun. Inside there are six permanent collections including: Degrazia Paints the Yaqui Easter and Degrazia Paints the Bullfight. There is also a rotating exhibit. When I visited in early May it was 15 oil paintings depicting the suffering of Jesus Christ. The grounds are full of sculptures as well as many different species of cacti. On the grounds is the original mission which is beautiful and not to be missed. I would definitely recommend a trip to the Degrazia Gallery in the Sun. In fact after visiting, he has become one of my favorite artists. (Information www.degrazia.org).
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