Mining Engineer Decorates the Community of Oracle in Southern Arizona
ORACLE — Martin Salter wasn’t a trained artist, but his work is highly regarded in this community. Salter was a mining engineer who loved art and wanted his town to be a place of culture, so he created art objects and placed them at strategic sites.
He designed a mural for a wall that surrounds the parking lot at the Oracle Public Library, then recruited local high school students and artists to do the painting. The mural uses a series of panels to trace the town’s history, emphasizing the arts, mining, ranching and Hispanic and Native American influences.
Just up the road a bit, in an area known as Pedestrian Parkway, Salter created a giant lizard and two huge arrowheads to welcome those who visit. Both are made of ceramic tiles and cement, and are much more whimsical than frightening. More than 80 volunteers helped build them from Salter’s design. The artist who wasn’t an artist died in 1999; now a bench in the park is dedicated to him and his work.