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Valley man's mission to make art accessible through 'living wall' murals

Posted at 7:11 PM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-15 21:11:57-05

PHOENIX — Julian Sodari insists that he does not have a favorite mural.

But the one that he calls "special" is the mural on a wall of his family's property in the Phoenix neighborhood of Central City South.

It's big, bright, abstract and the first mural event he hosted for the community.

He allows a different wall to be used as a "living wall" where artists can come to paint over and create a new piece.

"We want we want it to stay fresh, want it to stay living," Sodari said. "So we do encourage artists to come out, you know, just ask, 'Hey, do you have a spot for us to paint?' And we'll say, 'yeah here's a free wall.'"

His only rules are to keep it positive and respectful.

"Keep it family-friendly," he said.

But Sodari doesn't paint murals. He appreciates them.

"I think it's the accessibility to art, you know? Growing up here in Central City South, we didn't really have, you know, outings to the art museums and things like that. So, whatever we saw in the streets was kind of, you know, our gallery," Sodari said.

Sodari makes maps for a living and uses those skills on, the website he co-founded with Sagrado Gallery owner Sam Gomez.

They keep track of where murals can be found around the city and connect streets artists with commissioned jobs.

"You'll find a lot of them in central Phoenix, Roosevelt Row. We work a lot in the Coronado neighborhood," Sodari said.

Because he says murals make a difference in the lives of the artists who paint them and the communities where they are showcased.

"These murals have value and they bring value to the communities. If it's not for an artist getting paid and making a living [then] it's for what they provide. They're pretty much beautifying your neighborhood," Sodari said.

The map is currently being updated to reflect new murals since the start of the pandemic.