Mission in the Sun

Mission in the Sun

The Gallery in the Sun was designed and built by Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia and opened in 1965. In October 2006, this 10-acre Santa Catalina Mountain foothills site was added to the National Register of Historic Places. DeGrazia is known for his colorful paintings of native cultured of the Sonoran desert. His work includes oil paintings, watercolors, ceramics, and sculptures. We entered through a wooden door with holes filled with marbles. From the inside, the light enters in interesting ways. This gallery, designed to house DeGrazia’s work, includes several special exhibits. The Padre Kino collection honors this first Spanish explorer. I especially liked DeGrazia’s “Altar Valley Padre Kino Entrada 1687” and “Kino Prays.” The Cabeza de Vaca room recognizes the areas first non Indian artist in 1527. Papago Indian Legends explores following four Tohono O’odham stories: 1) Creation of the World, 2) Monster of Quitovac, 3) Eagle-man, and 4) Ho’ok, a wicked witch. The retrospective Collection,conveying DeGrazia’s compassion for the region’s native peoples, includes two of my favorites: “Third Class Bus” and “Self-Portrait in Pink.” The Yaqui Easter Ceremony has 40 paintings featuring the 40 days and nights celebrated by the Yaquis during Lent. Ah Ha Toro focuses on bullfights. My favorite was “Rebodora.” As we explored the grounds, we discovered the Mission in the Sun, built in 1952 in honor of Father Kino and dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico. The central ceiling is open. We also walked through the Little Gallery, featuring the work of photographer Steve Critchley. We paused at DeGrazia’s grave-site to honor this artist. It was interesting to learn more about DeGrazia.

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