Thursday, August 6, 2015

$100,000 grant to TAS will fund the design and construction of a bird & wildlife viewing pavilion, youth programming, and interpretive signage for a popular birding destination in Patagonia, AZ.

Chosen from 1,300 grant applications, this project will enhance the visitor experience at the TAS Paton Center for Hummingbirds in Patagonia. One of the primary goals of the grant, awarded to Tucson Audubon (TAS), and its partners: the UA School of Architecture, Patagonia Creative Arts Association (PCAA), and Borderlands Restoration, is to strengthen Patagonia’s identity as an arts and nature destination. This project will enhance tourism and economic opportunities for the community while enhancing the health of the ecosystem, wildlife, land, and people.

Eco-tourism is projected to bring 21.2 million dollars to Santa Cruz County each year, including 6.7 million dollars in salaries and wages. The Paton Center for Hummingbirds’ world-renown makes it an ideal venue for bringing together a diverse partnership to impact the local economy.

Artplace, one of the nation’s largest philanthropies dedicated to creative place-making, is supporting efforts to build the legacy of public access created by Wally and Marion Paton.  “Investing in and supporting the arts have a profound impact on the social, physical and economic futures of communities,” said ArtPlace Executive Director Jamie L. Bennett.  “Projects like these demonstrate how imaginative and committed people are when it comes to enhancing their communities with creative interventions and thoughtful practices.”

The grant was proposed by UA faculty member Anne S. Kurtin and TAS Paton Center Coordinator Keith Ashley.  Kurtin and her colleague Siri Trumble will lead architecture students in the pavilion design. Patagonia Creative Arts Association will create interpretive signage while Borderlands Restoration will develop arts-media for their Earth Care Youth Institute (BECY).

“Each of these grants supports a geographic community: a collection of people who live, work and play within a community,” adds Director of National Grant Making F. Javier Torres. “In each case, a community development challenge or opportunity was identified by local stakeholders and these 38 grantees are serving as conduits for their community’s desires by initiating arts-based solutions through their projects.”

“ArtPlace’s genius lies in funding local groups to expand and improve their public realm,” states Robert Miller, Director of the UA School of Architecture. “Partnering with a visionary group like TAS to enable visitors to have a better, more meaningful experience with Arizona’s wildlife and natural environment benefits everyone: the Patagonia community, our students, and visitors to southern Arizona.”

“It is an extraordinary opportunity to bring together and foster cooperative relationships while demonstrating how important birding and bird watching – quite literally in the backyard – can be to a local economy.  We are excited by the possibilities,” commented Karen Fogas, Executive Director for Tucson Audubon Society. 

UA students will present their initial design proposals on Wednesday, August 12th at the School.

To view the complete list of 2015 ArtPlace grantees, go to


About Tucson Audubon

Tucson Audubon promotes the protection and stewardship of southeast Arizona's biological diversity through the study and enjoyment of birds and the places they live. We work for a future in which the people of southeast Arizona are connected to their natural world through birds, and they protect and use our natural resources in a responsible and sustainable manner. Founded in 1949, Tucson Audubon is southeast Arizona's leading non-profit engaging people in the conservation of birds and their habitats. We involve people through recreational birding, extend their horizons through education activities, and engage them in conservation actions from planting trees and surveying bird populations, to working with local, state, and national policy makers. We are a founding member of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection. For more information visit

About the UA College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture

The UA College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture (CAPLA) is dedicated to sustainable design and planning for arid regions. Faculty members work at the forefront of sustainability and regenerative development, alternative energy, water conservation, landscape ecology, climate change adaptation, affordable housing and heritage preservation. Inspired by a passion for placemaking and people, CAPLA produces practitioners and scholars that champion regionalism in design and planning. The curriculum is integrated across the professions of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning, and is delivered within a small, caring, and diverse community. CAPLA alumni are recognized internationally for modern desert architecture, landscape architecture, and urban and regional planning, comprising what is known as the "Arizona School." For more information, please visit .

About the Patagonia Creative Arts Association

The Patagonia Creative Arts Association, a non-profit art center, has over 16 years of experience offering the Patagonia area and surrounding communities low to no cost arts education for children and adults. PCAA specializes in arts based after school programming, community outreach projects involving area artists, and theater education for children and adults. For more information call: 520-394-9369

About Borderlands Restoration

Borderlands Restoration’s goal is to reconnect wildlife, land, and people in the Arizona/Sonora Borderland region by involving people in restoring the ecosystem on which we depend. Restoring physical landscape processes, growing and planting native plants, and supporting springs and pollinators are just some of the vital activities in our work, but they remain incomplete without the third essential step: forging and maintaining bonds between people and the natural world, and providing opportunities for each to flourish in tandem. For more information, please visit

Project Contacts:

Keith Ashley

Coordinator: Paton Center for Hummingbirds

Interim Resource Development Director

Tucson Audubon Society


Annie Kurtin

Lecturer, Studio Coordinator

University of Arizona School of Architecture