We spent our Sierra Vista days split in time: hiking for a good part of the day and the rest of the day reading and writing. Every once in a while, we wanted a serious break. We decided to take a day off from our usual routine and head for the funky, arty town of Bisbee, Arizona.
This window says it all about Bisbee: The buildings are old, but people seem to have a great sense of design and color, and aren’t afraid to use it.
We strolled down an alleyway behind Main Street. This painting transformed what we guess was the back door to one of the businesses.
Copper, gold, and silver mines gave Bisbee its claim to fame. Those started in 1880. You can still see the enormous open-pit copper mine in town. As with most towns dependent on mining, the population soared, miners struggled for better wages and working conditions, and eventually the mine was shut down, throwing the town into a depressed economy.
In the 1970’s and 80’s, Bisbee started a period of rejuvenation. Artists moved in and restored the old buildings, many of them Victorian. The town is still small, with a population of just over 5,000 residents, but it is a vibrant place to be.
We passed a building with at least 20 of these figures painted across the front, arising from the sidewalk. We’d love to know the story behind them.
Many building walls provided surfaces for creative painting. As we walked up the hill towards a Catholic Church, the concrete retaining wall was covered in grape vines.
It seemed that all surfaces offered an opportunity to mix art with function. A wall at the curve of a road had a decorative “SLOW” sign painted on the rock face.
Artwork did not end when we reached the residential section of Bisbee.
We loved the birdhouses on the side of the house and it appeared many of the little houses were occupied.
Right before we descended the steps back into town, we saw a small garden. The frog looked a bit like Bisbee – a bit worn and faded, but quirky all the same.
Bisbee was a very good visit!