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Mural in Guanajuato to highlight Ashland

The creation of a mural depicting the highlights of Ashland begins next month in Guanajuato, Mexico.

Denise Baxter, the Ashland artist commissioned to do the work, has said: “It’s a big wall — I mean really big.” The wall, which is at a major intersection with Calle Ashland, is 75 feet long. The Guanajuato mural on Calle Guanajuato in Ashland is 52 feet long.

Baxter’s recent concept sketch shows most of Ashland’s landmarks — Lithia Park, Southern Oregon University, the Allen Elizabethan Theatre at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the downtown Plaza and Main Street — even Mount Ashland and its ski lodge.

The title of the mural is: “Ashland — Donde la Cultura llega a la Naturaleza” (“Where Culture Meets Nature”). Baxter has said: “I want the mural to be more than a collage of Ashland places, I want it to communicate the romance of our town — the music, art, theater, hiking and parades.

The mural is part of the 50th year anniversary of the Sister City relationship that the two communities are celebrating in 2018 and 2019. The mural is scheduled to be completed and dedicated on May 5 for the Cinco de Mayo holiday.

At the request of the project sponsors, Ashland residents Kathryn and Barry Thalden, the Guanajuato City Council unanimously approved the project, and has made a significant effort to prepare the wall, including increasing its height to over 11 feet.

Edgar Castro Cerrillo, El President de Guanajuato, has written: “This effort is in reciprocity for the wonderful mural of Guanajuato that was painted in Ashland in 2016,” by Guanajuato artist Loreta (who goes by one name).

Graciela “Señora Chela” Tapp-Kocks, founder of the “Sister City” relationship, and the Amigo Club in both cities have helped the Thalden’s facilitate the project.

Barry Thalden believes that “In this time of craziness between some of our Washington politicians in relationship to our neighbors in Mexico, the Amigo Club’s activities and this project should stand out as examples of how people of different countries and cultures should relate to one another.”

— Local report