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Due to construction in downtown Tucson, Ben's Bells murals need new homes

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If you’ve driven through the downtown area recently, you may have noticed a handful of Ben’s Bells murals missing.

For several years, four murals sat near Broadway and Stone Avenue. But as developers gear up to start building a six-story retail and residential complex next to the One South Church building, the murals were forced to be taken down.

But don’t worry — the kindness mural that once faced north will stay on site. Founder Jeannette Maré says the mural has been drawn into the developers’ plans and will be worked onto an exterior wall of the new building.

“It’ll be fun to keep a piece of that there,” she says. “And the developers have been really accommodating.”

And while the remaining three murals have been taken out of their downtown spots, Maré is hoping to preserve them. Currently, Tucson Electric Power is temporarily holding the murals until they find new homes.

“We’re hoping they’ll go on walls that are very visible,” Maré says. “Some people are really attached to them.”

“All of these murals contain tiles that were signed by people who signed our ‘commit to kindness’ contract,” she says. “There’s a cool history. We really want to be able to preserve them.”

The remaining three murals include one that centers around bicycling, one that acts as a scavenger hunt for children and, of course, the “I am Tucson” mural that has acted as the backdrop for many photos.

Maré said she’d love to see the scavenger hunt mural find a home where lots of children will be able to interact with it. She also said the bicycling mural would look good somewhere on The Loop.

“But we don’t know what’s out there and what potential there is, so we’re open to people contacting us,” she says.

Folks who have a building with a public-facing wall and are interested in housing one of the murals are encouraged to email media@bensbells.org.

“The work we do is all about collaboration, so we hope the company or business that has the wall will believe in the work we do,” Maré says.

As for that new building downtown, it’s been named RendezVous Urban Flats and is expected to have 100 units, in addition to a ground-level plaza, Arizona Daily Star archives show.