Rose Guardian

Written by Niki D'Andrea Category: Arts Issue: February 2012

The oldest mural along 16th street is “Prayer of St. Francis,” painted in 1998 by the late Rose Johnson. Located at Thomas Road, the six-panel mural depicts the cultural evolution of the Coronado community and includes inspirational quotes from Benito Juarez and St. Francis of Assisi. Over the years, it’s become a beloved street art icon, but it’s also been eroded by wind, bleached by the sun, and defaced by vandals. 

Several prominent Phoenix artists, including Luis Gutierrez, have partially restored the mural, and now Calle 16 and Por Vida founders Lalo Cota and Pablo Luna want to help finish the job. “For her, for Rose Johnson, we want to preserve that one, definitely as long as we are here,” Cota says. “I don’t have photos of it, so the hardest part is trying to figure out where I think everything is. It did decay so bad that some areas are just gone.”

Luna says he and Cota may lobby for funds to fix the mural, or “Maybe we’ll just do it privately without anyone knowing and we’ll just restore it,” he says.