Riders experience raw art on Mural Ride

Phoenix Youth Hostel and Hood Ride collaborated to do its second mural bike ride around downtown Phoenix with members of the community on Saturday night.

The ride began at the hostel with approximately 30 members of the community, who were taken to a back alley featuring a mural reading human rights in Spanish. Known as a very controversial piece in the area, it was originally painted in a different location in the alley before it was painted over because of people who were resistant of the mural's Spanish writing.

Also featured at the Hostel was a mural painted by local artist La Muñeca portraying a local Phoenix woman with patterns meant to correspond with being a traveler.

From there, cyclists rode to HoodRide Bicycles, a bike shop in Phoenix owned by Derek Pancheco. Run completely out of his backyard, HoodRide is filled with art from local artists in the community. In addition, Pancheco donated several bikes to rider participants in the Mural Ride.

The rest of the ride featured art on 16th Street, as well as some prominent artists' work in the community including that of Ashley Macias, La Muñeca, JB Snyder and Chadwick the Jewler.

At one point, riders witnessed a mural-in-progress by Yesca, a visiting artist from Mexico who shared his artistic expression from the country.

Rounding out the event was Ashley Macias, whose work is displayed in the alley behind the restaurant Barrio.

Macias described her art as "trippy, surreal and psychedelic."

"I don't really have many people I draw direct inspiration from," Macias said. "I am more inspired by work ethic."

Participant Stephanie Terell said she was glad to be involved in a cultural event.

"This is my second tour and I learn something new about the Mexican culture in Phoenix every time through the mural tours," Terell said. "I'm just glad I got to be part of this event."

Originally the mural ride was the result of a map curated by former Youth Hostel manager and owner Mary Stephens (one of 100 people selected as the premiere creative forces in Phoenix by the New Times). She is now an instructor at ASU's School of Film, Dance and Theatre and is a producer of the Performance in the Borderlands Project.

Kate Saunders has now taken over this role as manager and volunteer coordinator of the Youth Hostel.

This past year, Roosevelt Row Arts District (RoRo) asked the Youth Hostel to do something for Art Detour. Because Stephens had already created a map of the murals in Phoenix, RoRo decided to take the next step and do the tour.

"It ended up being not just a cool thing the hostel can do, but it's also a great way for the artists to talk to each other," Saunders said.

A lot of the murals shown were sponsored by "Calle 16," an organization headed by artists and community leaders that promotes public art work installations on 16th Street.

"It was an act of resistance and an act of cultural representation that became vitally important and for all of us after SB 1070," said Saunders.

The next tour is planned to take place on Grand Avenue in Phoenix.

"Downtown Phoenix, Garfield neighborhood all have different visual narratives that are interconnected, so we are definitely planning to do more," Saunders said.


Reach the reporter at Demetrius.Burns@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @dgburns20

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