New mural completed in downtown Bluff

by David Boyle
News Director
A new mural is complete in downtown Bluff, the mural installation on the outside of the old turquoise building in downtown Bluff is not only a new art installation but also the beginning of the work of the Bluff Community Foundation to renovate the building.
The newly finished mural was painted by Lucinda ‘La Morena’ Hinojos, an artist from the Phoenix area who has murals throughout the world and was selected by the National Football League as the Superbowl Marque Artist for the 2023 game held in Glendale, Arizona. As part of that event, Hinojos designed the ticket for the game and a large-scale mural.
Speaking with Red Rock 92.7 FM, Hinojos said the event was a surreal and emotional experience, while still bringing the same artistry she noted the backdrop of the big game was different from her latest project in Bluff. 
“Here in Bluff and it’s a small town, very peaceful, not as chaotic as the Super Bowl. I’m glad to be here and paint such an intimate mural with an amazing community”
Hinojos was brought to Bluff as part of a new artist-in-residence program administered by the Bluff Community Foundation.
Foundation Executive Director Rolland Lee said they were introduced to Hinojos at the 2020 Bluff Film Festival when her film was screened. Later the foundation was able to use a matching grant from the Utah Division of Arts and Museums to create the artist-in-residence program, with Hinojos becoming a finalist for the mural project.
Lee shared that the community has been excited to see the mural come to life.
“It is an absolute honor to have an artist of Lucinda’s caliber working to portray the landscape and cultural relevance of the region and more importantly, to underscore one of her core values, promoting indigenous communities through her artwork,”
Hinojos shared that she was originally introduced to the power of murals in 2015 and has been creating them to provide a voice to communities since. 
A Xicana Indigenous woman, Hinojos is of Apache, Pima and Yaqui descent. She recalled a particularly impactful mural she completed in Phoenix in 2019 regarding the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s (MMIW) issue.
“It took me five days to finish this mural. When I finished, it reached over 50,000 people within a few days and became internationally known within a few weeks. It really shed light on the topic and it also reached our congressman Greg Stanton in Arizona who learned about MMIW through my mural and reached out wanting to meet me and learn more about the topic, so he did reach out and I met up with him at the mural and educated him a little bit about MMIW.”
Hinojos shared that to this day Stanton is an advocate for MMIW.
As part of the creation of the mural in Bluff, Hinojos visited the town in October 2023 where she received stories and feedback from the community regarding the mural. Whitehorse High art teacher Georgiana Simpson also gave prompts to students asking them to describe Bluff and the surrounding area to a stranger. 
“So I took those elements and just hearing stories and kind of put this mural together where the landscape is very bright and colorful because I’m known for my color theory. Which is my bright oranges and magentas and purples so I used that in the landscape and from the surrounding areas.”
The mural includes images of the San Juan River, surrounding mesas, traditional Diné baskets and an image of the hands of basket weaver Peggy Black.
“Her hands are at the beginning process of the basket weaving. In the lower right is a Diné girl herding sheep looking out into the moon. Naturally, I didn’t notice it but the mural people picked up on the feminine energy that the mural carries, even with our mother moon it carries our energy. Throughout the mural you’re going to see matriarchs really show that resilience and that strength in the mural.”
Hinojos also shared that she was inspired by a poem written about surviving an indigenous boarding school and how she used the river to find her way home. 
In addition to the inspiration of the work Hinojos said the local community helped create the piece too with plenty of friendly faces stopping to chat, and to  bring breakfast, and lunch. Some local Whitehorse High students even helped with the painting of the mural.
“The bottom part of the mural, these girls, these matriarchs have been coming and helping me paint so they’ve been having a really great time. I’m just happy for them to be a part of it, because this is something that I wish I had when I was growing up, that I had someone that could mentor me, and show me the possibilities of what art and creativity can do.”
Lee shared that Hinojos absolutely hit her mark of representing a community through her art.
“I see so much represented in this mural it speaks to me as well. Hearing her speak about these high school students coming in as matriarchs, It speaks to the Diné experience of Diné womanhood, and how Diné culture is a matriarchal society. It’s just so vivid and so prominent and so cogent.”
Lee shared that Hinojos art helps people to listen to each other’s stories.
“If you’re open to listening to other people’s stories You realize that you’re more similar than you are different and I feel that’s the core part, the main part of representation.”
A mural reveal celebration was held on March 17, by the Bluff Community Foundation which is now planning to move into the former gas station building. Lee shares the foundation received a $100,000 grant to renovate the building with a vision to create a space for co-working, art gallery and home for a farmers market. The Foundation not only sponsored the artist in residence program, but also is sponsoring a once-a-month recycling program and helping with other projects as well.
More information about Hinojos work can be found online at While the mural was completed in mid-March, Hinojos says she hopes to return.
“I want to tell the people of Bluff that I really have a special place in my heart for them. So hopefully I’ll be back to paint another mural.”

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