Yuma is one of nine communities represented in the inaugural Arizona Creative Communities Institute, a learning program wherein diverse teams from Arizona cities, towns, and neighborhoods reimagine community assets and devise meaningful projects that place creative engagement, ethical and equitable practices, and local wisdom at the center.

Team Members & Collaborators

The list below includes persons affiliated with the team at any point in the 2+ year engagement:

Abraham Andrade, Owner, Rolls and Bowls Restaurant; Co-Founder, Chicano Art Collective

Lindsay Benacka, Arts and Culture Program Manager, Yuma Art Center, City of Yuma

Brad Downey, Artist

Lia Littlewood, Co-Director, Littlewood Fine Art and Community Co-Op

Maria McKivergan, Licensed Professional Counselor, Desert Counseling and Recovery Services

Cari Jean Nelson, Former Ceramics Instructor, Kofa High School

Isaac Russell, Co-Director, Littlewood Fine Art and Community Co-Op

Ann Wilkinson, Theatre Professor, Arizona Western College

Lucinda Yrene, Artist

About Yuma

Population: 97,908

“Visiting Yuma and living in Yuma are two completely different things. When I think of people visiting Yuma, I see them strolling downtown. You should think of Snowbirds aka Winter Visitors as people who sit on the living/visiting line for 4-6 months a year. There’s a certain facade that is in play when we talk about visiting. Yuma gives some stereotypical border town vibes to an outsider. Some people are truly Yumans and that deserves respect, for many of these are people who have a vision for the future of our city…. Living in Yuma for any period of time is sure to change your mind. There are a lot of great things about this growing border town and you may find that you can experience a new side of what America has to offer.”

Cari Jean Nelson, Former Ceramics Instructor, Kofa High School


Engaging residents across Yuma County as valued neighbors and fellow artists, Yuma’s “DIY Mural Project” attracted broad participation in truly innovative ways—including “golden ticket/arts summons” invitations sent randomly via mail to hundreds of county residents—and culminated in resident-painted murals and celebratory community events in Yuma, Somerton, and San Luis, Arizona.


AZ CCI: Yuma

Additional Information and Project Updates

Somerton unveils new outdoor mural painted by community | Yuma Sun, Dec 26, 2019

Artists sought to help create mural in San Luis | Yuma Sun, May 29, 2019