Near PEARCE – Turkey Creek and the dirt road named after it aren’t what one might consider ideal sites for fine art, but there’s some there anyway.
It’s inside a small church on the El Coronado Ranch, and it was placed there by Valer Austin, owner of the ranch and church along with her husband Josiah. The chapel measures 20 by 15 feet and contains a wondrous fresco that surrounds the interior.
Valer Austin devoted five years to the project, which tells the story of Creation. She traveled to Mexico and Italy to learn how to apply paint to wet plaster. Once she acquired that knowledge and started the fresco, she had to finish it before the plaster dried so she spent eight consecutive days painting the walls.
Although the chapel is on private property, it’s okay to stop and go in. But don’t cross the footbridge leading to the ranch house. To get there, take Turkey Creek Road east of State Route 181 in southeastern Arizona for a little more than seven miles.