Local artist Eli Faria gave the exterior of the Sunnyslope Historical Society and Museum a colorful new look (photo by Kathryn M. Miller).

We’ve likely all heard the saying, “April showers bring May flowers,” but in two North Central neighborhoods, the “flowers” bloomed early — in the form of two beautiful new murals.

At a bustling business complex on the northeast corner of 19th Avenue and Glendale, Carter Chase, a Brophy College Preparatory student and member of Boy Scout Troop 329, spent his time the last couple of months working to beautify the space. A beautiful mural, which he designed and then painted with the help of a few friends and Scouts, served as his Eagle Scout project.

“It’s a visual thing that everyone in the community sees, and they are able to have a sense of emotion and connection to the community around them,” the student said.

Local businesses such as Barry’s Ace Hardware and Preach Building Supply, among others, donated supplies to the effort, and the community response has been positive.

“It’s awesome for those of us who live here and drive by,” said Shannon McBride at an unveiling event April 3. McBride heads up the 19North Community Alliance and helped put the wheels in motion on the project. “This was just such a scary spot, and now every time I drive by, I see people sitting at the bus stop, beautifully safe. This is a testament to community collaboration.”

Community members gathered to celebrate a new mural at 19th Avenue and Glendale on April 3, including (from left) proud parents Mark and Kristi Chase, neighborhood leaders Cindy Graber and Pam Fitzgerald, Sgt. Jonathan Scott, Eagle Scout/artist and project leader Carter Chase, property owner Larmon Haugen, Lt. Mark Schweikert and 19North Community Alliance’s Shannon McBride (photo by Kathryn M. Miller).

Larmon Haugen, the owner of the building, agrees. His family has owned the property for the past 47 years and he also gladly supported the effort.

“We’ve seen a lot of changes there over the last, well, since the light rail came. I think it’s changed a lot.”

At an April 7 unveiling event, mural artist Eli Faria (center, holding sign) was joined by (from left) Roy Yocopis, Neighborhood Services Department; Rene Blain, Sunnyslope Historical Society; Spencer Self, director of Neighborhood Services; Pat Wilkinson, Sunnyslope Historical Society; and Krista Roy, Neighborhood Services (photo by Kathryn M. Miller).

They had issues near the bus stop where the mural was painted, with trash and trespassing, but that has changed since the mural was completed, with neighbors, area businesses and those just passing through taking note of the beautification efforts.

“I think it just brings attention to the neighborhood and it’s positive attention,” Haugen added.

A few miles northeast, another community mural was celebrated at an April 7 event at the Sunnyslope Historical Society and Museum, near 7th Street and Hatcher Road. Created by artist Eli Faria, the mural that graces the walls of the building is bursting with colorful sunflowers and the iconic “S” mountain.

This is Faria’s fourth mural in the area, and it was made possible through a $5,000 grant funded through the Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department’s Love Your Block grant program.

During the April presentation, Ray Yocopis, who oversees the program along with Ashley Henderson, said that the Love Your Block grant program is available to registered neighborhood groups, who can use up to $5,000 to implement projects such as the Sunnyslope mural in their own community. To learn more, visit www.phoenix.gov/nsd/loveyourblock.

As to why beautification efforts such as murals are important to neighborhoods, Neighborhood Specialist Krista Roy, who serves the Sunnyslope area, introduced Jorge Velasquez, with the city’s Graffiti Busters team.

“We really wanted Graffiti Busters to be a part of this mural unveiling,” Roy told the audience. “We really want to try to tie in the fact that murals actually do reduce graffiti.”

Faria added, “It’s a blessing to be able to make artwork for the community. I see it as a resurgence of this space. I’m so happy that we have the energy and a community that is ready to put the energy into making the space better.”


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