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Mural in Guanajuato to highlight Ashland

A mural depicting the highlights of Ashland will get underway next month in Guanajuato, Mexico.

“It’s a big wall — I mean really big,” said Denise Baxter, an Ashland artist who was commissioned to do the work.

The wall, 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 many Ashland’s landmarks — Lithia Park, Southern Oregon University, the Allen Elizabethan Theatre at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the downtown Plaza and Main Street — even Pilot Rock, Mount Ashland and its ski lodge.

The title of the mural is: “Ashland — Donde la Cultura llega a la Naturaleza” (“Where Culture Meets Nature”).

“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,” Baxter said.

The mural is part of the 50th 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 May 5 for the Cinco de Mayo holiday.

At the request of the project sponsors, Ashland residents Kathryn and Barry Thalden, 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, said: “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 Thaldens facilitate the project.

“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,” Barry Thalden said.

A 75-foot Mural of Ashland to be painted in Guanajuato, Mexico, by Ashland artist Denise Baxter includes the Ashland Springs Hotel and the Allen Elizabethan Theatre. - Courtesy image
The mural to be painted in Guanajuato includes many familiar highlights of Ashland, including Mount Ashland, Southern Oregon University and Pilot Rock. - Courtesy image