Ted DeGrazia Paints Padre Kino




Lance Laber, Executive Director of the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun in Tucson, Arizona, talks about artist Ted DeGrazia’s Padre Kino Collection, one of the permanent collections you can view at the Gallery on Big Blend Radio.

Born in Northern Italy on August 10, 1645, Eusebio Francisco Kino was a Jesuit missionary, geographer, explorer, cartographer and astronomer. In 1687, he arrived in northern Mexico on horseback, traveling into what is now Arizona. Mapping the region, Padre Kino explored the vast lands of Arizona and California, making friends and working with the local indigenous Native American population.

Unfortunately, with him also came the soldiers of the King of Spain, who brought guns and swords, while the gentle priest brought a simple cross to introduce Christianity without destroying the native cultures. He told them stories of Christ and the Bible, introduced them to Christian ceremonies, and together they built 24 missions in 24 years that stretched from Sonora, Mexico, to Southern Arizona. Located just southwest of Tucson, San Xavier (pictured) also known as the “White Dove” of the desert, is one of the most impressive of the missions.


Famed Arizona artist Ted DeGrazia, most likely the most reproduced artist in the world, is known for his art and paintings that trace historical events and native cultures of the Southwest. DeGrazia was inspired by the memorable events in the life and times of Padre Kino. Since childhood, DeGrazia admired Padre Kino for his education, life of adventure and his respect for Native Americans. DeGrazia traveled to every Kino mission as he lovingly studied the life of his favorite Jesuit priest.

In 1952, DeGrazia built the Mission in the Sun as the first building constructed on what is now the DeGrazia Gallery in Sun property. The Mission was built in memory of Padre Kino, and dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Following his own building plans, DeGrazia and his friends carefully handcrafted the adobe constructed building. In 2006, the Mission in the Sun was registered as a National Historic landmark. It is currently undergoing restoration due to a fire.

The DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun is a 10-acre historic landmark nestled in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains in Tucson, Arizona. Opened in 1965, it is home to over 15,000 originals of Ted DeGrazia art pieces including oil paintings, watercolors, ceramics and sculptures. There are six permanent collections on display including: DeGrazia and Padre Kino, DeGrazia Paints Cabeza de Vaca, DeGrazia Paints Papago Indian Legends, Retrospective Collection, DeGrazia Paints the Yaqui Easter and DeGrazia Paints The Bullfight. Showcasing DeGrazia’s other original works, the Gallery hosts different exhibitions throughout the year.  Learn more at www.DeGrazia.org

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