TUCSON — The great artist Georgia O’Keeffe probably wouldn’t have liked the way it turned out, but her onetime act of kindness resulted in one of her artworks becoming a logo for a motel. Her rendering of a white cow skull on a black background hangs on two signs at the Ghost Ranch Lodge at 801 E. Miracle Mile Road. O’Keeffe created the work in 1936 and give it — and the right to use it in any fashion — to Arthur Park as a wedding gift.
Park owned the Ghost Ranch north of Santa Fe, N.M., and O’Keeffe lived there for a while. When the Parks moved to Tucson and opened a motel in the 1960s, they incorporated the skull into their new Ghost Ranch logo. The lodge changed hands, but the sign stayed, even when the facility was converted into a retirement residence in 2006.