Friday, October 14, 2011

Make a Difference Day Oct. 22: More Funky Pockets of Charm Coming to Tucson Along Toole Avenue

Posted By on Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Funky pockets of charm are a big part of what makes Tucson fun. Fourth Avenue’s welded trash cans. Murals and metal art peppered around downtown. A revamping of Toole Avenue, complete with new trees, new plants and gads of new art.

The sprucing-up festivities, officially known as the Toole Avenue Streetcape Project, is part of Make a Difference Day, scheduled from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22. Activities are geared toward refurbishing the yet-to-be-finished Toole Avenue Artwalk with greenery and all other hues in a planting and art fest.

Oodles of artists, community volunteers, art and civic organizations and businesses will be on location planting trees, installing dozens of other plants, finishing off existing murals and adding new artwork to the scene. Performances, art activities and other festivities will be going on along Toole and throughout the entire Tucson Historic Warehouse Arts District, including three, one-day exclusive exhibits.

The one-day shows include salon-style showing of two dimensional works on the fence on the south side of Toole; three-dimensional works for a sculpture garden and other areas along Toole; and semi-permanent fence panels near the bus stop on the north side of Toole. Artists who are quick with submissions can still send artwork for consideration until 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14 (today!). Details at

Chalk artists and other volunteers are also needed for the day of the event. Contact Susan Kay Johnson at to sign up to create a chalk mural; contact the Downtown Tucson Partnership at (520) 837-6504 for other volunteer opportunities.

In addition to the Downtown Tucson Partnership, the Warehouse Arts Management Organization, or WAMO, is another key player in the event, while the City of Tucson and area property owners and community partners have also been chipping in to tidy up Toole between Sixth and Stone avenues over the past few months, the WAMO website notes.

The goal is to “transform the street into an attractive, safer and more convenient public thoroughfare,” according to the WAMO website. Nice. Make A Difference Day is the first public fanfare scheduled to celebrate the ongoing changes, with the final project to include the new plants, new art, new bike racks and a new bus shelter, new fencing, updated lighting, fixed-up sidewalks and ADA-compliant crosswalk ramps. Double nice.

Making a Difference can also be nice, even if it is with something on a scale less grand than a Toole Avenue makeover. Opening the door for a stranger, picking up trash for a neighbor or even not cutting off a fellow motorist are good places to start.

For those infused with creativity, you can always add your own funky pocket of fun to Tucson, as long as it’s not in the form of graffiti. Rather than funky and fun, the local version of the stuff is rather ugly and illegible.

Go for some fresh yard art or fence art instead. If you don’t have a grouchy homeowners association, go ahead and install that giant metal javelina statue you’ve always wanted on your roof. Or simply give someone a smile and wave, as a positive attitude can do wonders for making a difference anywhere, anytime.
Ryn Gargulinski, aka Rynski, is a writer, artist, performer and poet. Her column runs in the Tucson Weekly print edition monthly and weekly on Friday on The Range. See more writing and art from RYNdustries at and


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