February 5, 2024 (Tucson, AZ) -- Tucson-based muralist and painter Ignacio Garcia, in conjunction with the Rialto Theatre, unveils a fresh new mural in Downtown Tucson. The mural rises high above the downtown streets on the west wall of the Rialto Theatre, located at 318 E. Congress Street. Garcia will officially debut the new mural to the Tucson community at a special “La Guitarrista” introduction party with The Rialto on Saturday, February 10, 2024.
Garcia opted to paint over the mural of basketball star Bill Walton riding a jackalope to bring “La Guitarrista” to life. The “Jack and Bill” mural was also a Garcia original, painted as a part of the City of Tucson Mural Program in conjunction with Tucson Arts Brigade back in 2016. The choice to paint over the mural came from Garcia’s own vision of the growing importance of representation in his public-facing artworks. As Garcia puts it, “the Bill Walton mural did not fully reflect what I think of as the face of downtown Tucson. I wanted to paint someone that reflects and embodies the strong Sonoran culture and the powerful women within it.”
After conceiving of the “La Guitarrista” piece, Garcia met with Rialto Theatre Executive Director Cathy Rivers to discuss the potential for an updated mural on The Rialto’s west-facing wall. “We love the Bill Walton mural, of course, but with the artist themself excited to bring a new vision to life, and a gorgeous one at that, I really fell in love with her too,” said Cathy Rivers. “La Guitarrista” speaks to the cultural history of Tucson, but it also evokes music, life, art, and the desert landscape in a way that is undeniably Tucson. We feel a real kinship with her.”
“La Guitarrista” was just recently completed. At 45 by 45 feet in size, it will undoubtedly catch the eye of locals and Tucson visitors alike. The El Charro family and patrons are already delighted by the breathtaking views of “La Guitarrista” from the downtown restaurant. The AC Hotel, which sits across from the mural, is also excited to share in the vibrant new art piece. “Rooms with an amazing view! The AC Hotel Downtown Tucson could not be happier with Ignacio Garcia’s new, colorful, and rich piece that our guests and downtown community will be able to appreciate for years to come,” said Nick Fox of the AC Hotel.
The “La Guitarrista” reception kicks off at R Bar, located at 350 E Congress, just across from The Rialto Theatre in their shared Herbert Alley. The event will feature light snacks, drinks, and a walk over to the “La Guitarrista” mural. Rialto’s new store El Regalo will be open for guests to snag a signed print of “La Guitarrista.” The celebration includes drone footage of the new mural for a one-of-a-kind view. Details for the event can be found on the Rialto Theatre website.
The Rialto Theatre Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the stewardship and preservation of the historic Rialto Theatre, a unique entertainment venue and a cornerstone of downtown Tucson. For more information about the Rialto Theatre, the Rialto Theatre Foundation, 191 Toole, R Bar, or El Regalo, please visit www.rialtotheatre.com.