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Local artists illustrate Phoenix history through Fry's mural

The location will be the closest grocery store to ASU's Downtown Phoenix campus


Margaret Dewar paints a mural at a Fry's location in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, in July of 2019.

With vivid colors and concepts, two local muralists worked with a Fry’s Food Store to add vibrancy to downtown Phoenix. 

The grocery store, which is scheduled to open Oct. 23, will offer customers a shopping experience complemented by an indoor mural. 

Fry’s is located on the multi-use Block 23, which will also home apartments, retail spaces and offices. 

The location will be the closest grocery store to ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus and is within walking distance from campus. 

Artists Margaret Dewar and R.E. Wall see this project as a way to enrich the space with both art and history. 

“Public art is everybody’s business,” Wall said. “We were really excited about the location because it’s in the heart of the city, which means we can really highlight the history of the area and tell a story.” 

Wall, who grew up in Phoenix, said the mural emphasizes both the history and present of Block 23. The area, which yielded archaeological artifacts upon groundbreaking, was once a home for Hohokam culture. 

The mural tells a story of development and change in the heart of Phoenix, a story that Dewar and Wall said is an important history to share. 

Dewar said the finished mural came as a result of extensive materials, time and research. 

“It was amazing to look back on old photographs; everyone is on bikes or horseback or buggy,” Dewar said. “We wanted to really show the change the area has gone through in history.” 

Both Dewar and Wall are artists for Mural Mice Universal, a group that does both public and private art. 

Wall and Dewar have worked together for 16 years “grabbing walls wherever they could,” Dewar said, but this mural was their first partnership with a corporation. 

She said their work with the company came to fruition after a month-long brainstorming process that occurred before they were even selected for the mural. 

Dewar and Wall competed against dozens of other local artists for the project. They said they were thrilled to be selected, especially because the company was looking for local artists to paint the mural. 

“We wanted to educate people on where they were standing and just how rich in history this place is," Wall said. "And when it comes down to it, we were able to teach this corporation that isn’t based in Phoenix how important the area is.” 

Edward Lebow, the public art program director for the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, said this project was the fifth in a series that started in 2016. 

A partnership between the Office of Arts and Culture and Kroger has resulted in other murals in grocery stores across the state. 

“It’s been a great partnership,” Lebow said. “The arts are key to vibrant cities, and they always have been.” 

He said that the city of Phoenix continues to develop, and the art around its citizens should mirror that change.

“As we urbanize, the more we’re surrounded by an environment we’ve designed and built ourselves,” he said. “Why not include art in the developments?” 

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