DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Historic District is the artistic manifestation and architecture constructed by Ettore Ted DeGrazia. The property is a series of buildings scattered throughout a 10-acre natural desert setting. Built in Tucson near the intersection of Swan Road and Skyline the property is now a museum open to the public.
By the late 1940s, the city of Tucson began encroaching on DeGrazia's gallery. He felt cramped with so many people moving to Tucson and he wanted to escape its growth. In 1949, he and his wife Marion bought 10 acres of isolated property in the Santa Catalina Foothills, north of Tucson. It has stunning mountain views and rolling terrain filled with colorful cactus and desert vegetation.
Construction began in 1951 with the open air Mission in the Sun followed by a series of other expressionistic adobe buildings. Construction was aided by his Yaqui and Tohono O'odham friends. The gallery/museum was completed in 1965 with details like cactus flooring, exposed wood beams, rafters and unique artistic finishes. This main gallery houses thirteen separate galleries of original artwork.
The only way for DeGrazia to avoid a huge amount of government taxation was for him to turn his Gallery In the Sun into a non-profit foundation. In this way he was able to keep his collection and his fortune intact. DeGrazia died of cancer on September 17, 1982 at the age of 73. His beloved Gallery In the Sun was listed on the National Historic Registry as a Historic District in 2006.(1)