Sculpture adorns former Grant Road eatery

Tucson Oddity
2010-06-21T00:00:00Z Sculpture adorns former Grant Road eateryJamar Younger Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 21, 2010 12:00 am  • 

A copper-colored woman with protruding eyebrows made of rebar stands against a building while holding two bowls on East Grant Road near North Country Club Road.

The woman is taller than the single-story building that supports her, but she is partially concealed by some trees that line the sidewalk.

The sculpture is one of the last remnants of the former Tia Elena restaurant that occupied the building more than 20 years ago.

Sculptor Jesus C. Corral founded the restaurant in the 1960s before his son, Alex Corral, took control of the business.

According to the Star's archives, Jesus Corral was an avid artist who decorated the restaurant with many of his sculptures, which were influenced by his Mayan ancestry.

It's not clear if he created the copper-colored woman, but current property owner Tom Ward wants to make sure the structure stays in front of the building.

"I fell in love with the building because it's so typical of what happened in Tucson long ago," Ward said. "It bespeaks of Tucson, especially of that time period."

The sculpture served as a chimney for the restaurant, and the bowls were fountains, he said.

The sculpture's eyes and earrings were illuminated, although currently no light bulbs are in the sockets.

Ward, owner of Tom's Fine Furniture and Collectables at East Pima Street and North Craycroft Road, said he plans to reopen his Grant Road store after closing it more than a year ago.

He bought the property in 1990.

Ward would have repaired the sculpture sooner, but he postponed work because of concerns about the Grant Road widening project, he said.

Among other things, he wants to build a fence around the sculpture to protect it from vandals.

"She's pretty vulnerable right now," he said.

Contact reporter Jamar Younger at jyounger@azstarnet.com or call 573-4115.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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