I recently took a quick trip to Tucson, Arizona for a conference. I love Tucson. It was my home for many years, and living there contributed greatly to my love of saturated color and nature-inspired folk arts. This was a quick trip, but happily I had some of the final day to wander about the historic El Presidio neighborhood and take some pictures.
Just down the way from my hotel was a beautiful little pocket-sized park. Two men were tending it; clearly an older man and his grown son. I complemented them on the design and upkeep of the park and the older man told me how he helped to build the park over 25 years ago and he and his son come back regularly to maintain it. It is clearly a labor of love.
I wandered through Old Town Artesans, a set of old abobe buildings set around a courtyard that are home to shops selling art and handcrafts, some wonderful and some not. My favorite was a shop filled to the rafters with a jumble of Mexican folk art.
Houses in the El Presidio neighborhood primarily date back to 1900-1940 and include wonderful mission revival bungalows with wide front porches and courtyard gardens filled with colorful bougainvillea and orange and olive trees.
The area borders on downtown and includes the Tucson Museum of Art. I had enough time to tour the Museum (sorry, no photos allowed) and its restored historic homes dating from 1850 and 1907. Well worth a visit if you are ever in Tucson.