When Randy Garsee heard there were an estimated 400 murals on Tucson walls, yet no map of them, he grabbed his digital camera and went to work.
Garsee, then a news anchor at KOLD, Channel 13, soon had the Tucson Murals Project up and running. Tucsonmurals.blogspot.com has photos and commentary on more than 40 murals in the city.
"Tucson's murals are a reflection of the Old Pueblo's diverse culture," he said via e-mail. "Drive by a mural and you get a glimpse of a pretty painting. Stop and look at the mural for a few minutes and you see the nuances of life in the Sonoran Desert."
Now living 70 miles north of Dallas and working as an anchor and managing editor for NBC affiliate KTEN-TV, Garsee continues to update the site with contributions from others.
Some of the best murals are on South Tenth Avenue south of West 22nd Street.
"They're everywhere," contributor Jerry Peek writes. "On your right and your left, and on a couple of side streets, too."
Garsee, 45, spent nearly 10 years as an anchor for KOLD.
Do you have a background in photography?
"I was trained in photojournalism when I was in the U.S. Navy years ago. It's a hobby now."
What was your aim with the Tucson Murals Project?
"The initial idea behind the Tucson Murals Project was to complement Tucson's Downtown redevelopment. It seemed to me that the city was leaving out a great idea for Tucson tourism: a map for tourists to drive and find Tucson's beautiful wall-size pieces of art."
Were you surprised at how many were here?
"I'm still uncertain if there really are 400 murals in Tucson, as I once read. Right now, you'll find numerous photos covering about 40 murals posted on the Tucson Murals Project. Somehow, I feel we are only scratching the surface."
Did you have any favorites?
"Just about every mural is a favorite for me. When I look at such a large work of art, I can't help but think about the artists behind the creation, how long they worked, the creative vision they're trying to portray."
What do you hope people get out of your project?
"My greatest hope is that it becomes a larger community project. What breaks my heart are the stories I've heard about great murals being painted over and no one has a photo of it or remembers the artist. That's a tragedy.
– Gerald M. Gay