ASU student's Phoenix mural celebrates community and history

Miguel Godoy worked on the project for over a year with help from volunteers

An ASU graduate student finished one of the largest murals in Phoenix on one of the walls of the WebPT building in the warehouse district. 

Miguel Godoy, a master's in fine arts candidate and teaching assistant at ASU, has been collaborating with WebPT on this mural for over a year, and it was finally completed on Friday. 

Godoy said the actual painting process began in March of this year. He said they advertised community workshops so community members could help complete the project. He did a "paint by numbers," where he mixed paint and gave each color a corresponding number on the wall so community members were able to help easily.

“What drives this is the community component,” he said. “You know, the civic engagement. That's really what drives this, being able to come out here and meet people and impact people's lives and having people involved, and that’s one of the biggest things for me.”

Godoy said although it was a great experience, it also came with stress. 

“Especially with a project like this cause this, it’s got many components,” he said. “So the mural is done offsite and so one phase is designing it, organizing all the volunteers, getting all the community involved and then doing the actual painting and installing of it.” 

The mural features a range of paintings that are supposed to convey the history and significance of the city of Phoenix. 

One section features flowers and cacti, Godoy said that section “breathes life into a dead space.” Another section shows a woman with a tortilla in her hands to attribute the fact that the building used to be a tortilleria. 

“Community members will come over here and they'll tell you, ‘Hey, I remember driving by here and it always smelled like tortillas, we used to get our tortillas from here,” he said. “So we really wanted to pay homage to that and also tie kinda to the demographic of this neighborhood also.” 

Heidi Jannenga, the president and co-founder of WebPT played a large role in the execution of this project. WebPT is a physical therapy software company and is housed in the building the mural now sits upon. 

WebPT hosted a "blocktoberfest" on Friday to celebrate the completion of the mural with employees. 

Jannenga said this mural was an opportunity to bring some art into the area while also embracing the community. 

“We love sort of blending the old with the new in this historic warehouse district, but yet we're bringing technology and new innovation to the area, and so I wanted to bring that same concept to the mural,” Jannenga said. “There's so much history here in the warehouse district, and so it's really paying homage to the history of the warehouse district and who was here.”

Jannenga said the partnership with ASU worked out extremely well and described her partnership with Godoy on the project as “instant chemistry.”

“It's been a memorable, remarkable experience and we love the fact that we were able to collaborate with ASU and the school of arts,” she said. 

Audrey Galat, a graduate student studying sculpture in the MFA program said she was fond of the approach Godoy took on the project.

“I really enjoyed how he tied in the whole building,” she said. “He didn't try to cover up the fact that this is a building wall, but he used it as a canvas, and so you can see in parts there's negative space. He also went from the floor to the top of the building to encompass the whole wall, but still letting it be apparent that this is a building, which I thought was really nice.” 

Galat said although it’s something people may forget, art is essential to the community.

“It really brings everybody together because it's something that everyone can appreciate, and everyone can relate to in some way, whether that be they're relating in different ways or not," she said. "Everyone is always able to tie their own personal experiences and their own ways of thinking into each work of art, which makes it personal.” 


Reach the reporter at bstoshne@asu.edu and follow @itsbrennaaaa on Twitter. 

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