Our Town

International Sonoran Desert Alliance

Ajo, Arizona



Based in Ajo, Arizona, the International Sonoran Desert Alliance (ISDA) uses the arts to bridge the Anglo, Mexican, and indigenous O'odham communities that live within the Sonoran Desert.

The NEA will help support the creation of a master plan for the adaptive re-use of multiple buildings and outdoor spaces in Ajo's Plaza and Town Center. The project builds upon ISDA's award-winning, decade-long collaboration with Pima County, and will specifically address public space use, wayfinding, streetscape design, future public art sites, and linkages between all sites adapted for creative uses. An architecture or urban design firm with experience adapting historic structures to creative use will be selected to complete two community design charrettes, a master plan for the Ajo Historic Townsite, and three building designs: the Curley School retreat and learning center, the Ajo Plaza recreation hall, and the Ajo Plaza movie theater. It is anticipated that the redevelopment of Ajo's Town Center will strengthen and promote Ajo's tri-cultural heritage, benefiting Ajo's population of approximately 3,750 and several nearby villages in the Tohono O'odham Nation.