Monday, February 10, 2014

Patagonia and the Arts

During our walk around the business district and past some of the historic buildings in Patagonia, AZ (see the previous two entries), we noticed the colorful gates and doors on many of the properties.
The creative spirit appears to unite this community of fewer than 1000.

"The Patagonia Creative Arts Association is a non-profit center that offers programming in all areas of the arts. Founded in 1999, Patagonia Creative Arts provides classes, workshops, and open studios for both children and adults. Its goals are to connect the community through hands-on activities and provide a safe and nurturing place to bring out the inner artist in everyone.
"Patagonia Creative Arts Association has a history of actively creating partnerships to advance arts in education and arts in the community. From the beginning our programming has encompassed all ages of community members, with our main focus on the children of the area. The programming is balanced, affordable to the public, and vital to the understanding of arts as a contribution to quality of life" (
I believe the next three photos show the walls and gates that surround what from 1925 to 1948 was Patagoia Union High School.

Further indications of the value placed on the arts is the following:

"Patagonia Creative Arts has a 100-seat black-box theater, known as the Tin Shed Theater. The theater has offered adults and children alike, a venue for theatrical performance and entertainment. Patagonia Players, our local theater troupe entertains our community with several performances a year. The Tin Shed Theater is also the venue for our youth theater group, Club Theater an after- school program that explores the basics of theater through games, inquiry and discovery culminating in a performance for the community."

These murals (below) and the tile tower in the second photo below are on the property of the Patagonia Elementary School.

The words in tile on the tower above are: "Thank you Patagonia Regional Community Foundation."

Another example of the community's spirit is embodied in the mission of Community Homes of Patagonia, Inc. or CHOP. This "is Patagonia’s community housing trust, and is an open-membership nonprofit organization.
"The mission is to support the diversity and vibrancy of the town of Patagonia and its vicinity, providing quality, affordable, homeownership opportunities to local people with modest incomes. CHOP members support the idea that diversity creates a strong community. The organization is working to create housing options that currently do not exist for working residents with low to moderate incomes."

The Painted House Studio
Murals on the public rest rooms in the town's park

Near Richardson Park, we came across these artistic Garden Art Prints that had been created by students in grades 5 through 8 in Helen Chester's Print Making Class at the Patagonia Creative Arts Association.
We learned this was the town's Community Garden and later learned about the philosophy of the garden:

"Longing to plant succulent tomatoes and spicy chilies—but just can’t find the space or energy to do it on your own? Pay a visit to the Community Garden and walk through the bounty planted by local residents. You’ll be inspired by the beauty of the Garden’s altar to the Virgin of Guadalupe,
"and intrigued by growers’ conservation techniques such as mulching, burming, and swaling.
"The Patagonia Community Garden (PCG) provides a supportive, affordable environment for local residents to grow healthy, organic produce. PCG nurtures sustainable connections between people and the food they eat and demonstrates the powerful things people can do for themselves, using their own hands.
Maps of the garden plots

"PCG’s goal is not only to give people the knowledge and tools that can reduce their monthly grocery bills and add fresh, seasonal produce to their diet, it also creates awareness and relationships between land, community, and the environment.
Gardening spaces are available for $5 per plot, per month, which includes access to water, compost, and garden tools.

But the townsfolk still find time to just relax in the park.

A pretty active, strong community. In just a few hours in town, we experienced something special.