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Arizona’s Heart and Sol: Local artist brings life to the community

Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 5:02 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Every week KOLD News 13 is teaming up with Casino del Sol to honor someone who is making a difference in our community.

This week’s Heart and Sol recipient is Alfonso Chavez, who has dedicated his life to helping others around the Old Pueblo.

“If I see an issue or a problem that I know I can tackle, I’m going to go for it,” Chavez said.

Chavez is a sixth generation Tucsonan who has taken on many roles, including being a community advocate, a local artist and a farmer.

“A lot of my work is working to provide services to the community through the tools that I utilize, which is through artwork, sustainable and traditional agriculture, youth workshops, cultural education and empowerment, a lot of neighborhood and community advocacy,” Chavez said.

At just 30-year-old, he has dedicated most of his adult life to community work. Chavez was a coordinator with the Pima Prevention Program, which works with Latino young adults who are transitioning from jail, back into the community.

“I’ve dedicated my time to doing cultural education as a way of empowerment to find a heightened since of self-worth,” Chavez said.

As a Chicano muralist, you can find Chavez’s murals all around Tucson’s west side. His art brings life, beauty and history to neighborhoods like Barrio Sobaco, Barrio Hollywood, Jollyville and Menlo Park.

“The murals that tell the story and the history of the resistance that took place, the protests, are reflections of the community through organization from elders and from people who have joined together, neighborhood chapters, that create these spaces for us to be able to do what we do, and I find a lot of beauty in that,” Chavez said.

Chavez works full-time as a farm coordinator with the Tohono O’odham Co-Op. The focus there is to reconnect the community to their traditional crops and agriculture, and to promote health and sustainability. Chavez also volunteers at the farm Flowers and Bullets in Barro Centro.

When Chavez was asked if he ever gets tired from taking on so many tasks, he replied, “I’m exhausted. Yeah, I’ve put a lot of work, a lot of time, I dedicate a lot of energy to doing this stuff. There’s a lot of failures, but the success is overwhelmingly that much more than the failures, you know?”

If you know someone who exemplifies Arizona’s ‘heart and sol’ you can submit a nomination here.

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