Downtown Phoenix Mural by Ted DeGrazia Faces Demolition

Longtime Arizona Highways contributor Ted DeGrazia's mural in downtown Phoenix is in jeopardy, and saving it would cost a quarter-million dollars, The Arizona Republic reported earlier this month.

The 47-foot mural, reportedly created to pay off a bar tab, graces a wall at the former greenHAUS gallery. DeGrazia painted it 65 years ago, long before he became famous, along with a smaller DeGrazia mural also housed at the gallery. A Denver company bought the property and is planning to tear down the building in March to build an apartment complex.

Carmen Bria, of the Denver-based Western Center for the Conservation of Fine Arts, estimated preservation of the 47-foot painting of cancan girls, alcohol distilling and women flying through the air with chalices would cost at least a quarter-million dollars. The DeGrazia Foundation plans to pay the nominal cost of preserving the smaller mural, of a ballerina pirouetting above a coupe glass.

Downtown Phoenix is known for its colorful murals, although most of those still in existence were painted in the last couple of decades.

DeGrazia's work first appeared in Arizona Highways in 1941, and the prolific artist continued contributing to the magazine until his death in 1982. He's also known for his activism, including burning much of his artwork in the Superstition Mountains in the 1970s to protest inheritance taxes on works of art.

(Photo: This Ted DeGrazia retrospective appeared in our March 1983 issue, shortly after DeGrazia's September 1982 death.)

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