The walking dead convened on the UA campus to give back to the living in a fun-filled charity event that included obstacle courses, snacks and lots of fake blood.
Mr. Head’s Art Gallery and Bar teamed up with Bicycle Inter-Community Art & Salvage, a local non-profit that recycles bicycles for at-risk kids and homeless persons while also providing maintenance classes for them, on Sunday night for “Climb of the Undead”. The manager of the Mr. Head’s Art Gallery and Bar, Steven Rodriquez, teamed up with Monique Laraway, a fundraising coordinator and mechanic at BICAS, to plan the event.
Participants were asked to bring a $7 donation, a bike light and their best zombie attire. Representatives from BICAS and the bar set up challenges at the top of four parking garages around the UA campus and gave contestants a map to six.
One of the challenges required contributors to eat a cupcake while riding their bicycle in a circle. Prizes were donated from Heavy Pedal, a Phoenix-based company that focuses on fixture for bikes. Participants were given T-shirts and other prizes for “best zombie,” “first lady” and more.
According to Jordan Andrade, a bartender and gallery director at Mr. Head’s Art Gallery and Bar, the owner of the bar is a custom glass blower who displays his work in the bar and invites other local artists to display their work in his showroom. Mr. Head’s also features live bands and supports all types of artists in the Tucson area. A new artist paints the outside wall of the bar about every three months.
Participants in “Climb of the Undead” seemed passionate about reaching out to other members of the student body and the Tucson population to get involved with BICAS and support art in all of its forms. Not only does BICAS provide a way for underprivileged kids to create goals for themselves through bike maintenance classes, but they also allow these kids to get in touch with their creative side. David Ross, a volunteer for BICAS who recently moved to Tucson from Ohio, said that BICAS has created bike art along Fourth Avenue, including 15-foot cactuses made out of bike rims.
Through advocacy and salvaging bicycles, the BICAS mission is to promote education, art and a healthy environment while providing service and opportunity for those in need, according to its website.
“We are an education center,” Ross said, “not a traditional bike shop.”
BICAS wasn’t always BICAS, though. In 1989, it was an organization called Bootstraps to Share, which helped the Tucson homeless population find employment, housing, food and transportation. The organization later used recycled bicycles and repair classes to help youth. Since those opening days, the organization has helped countless people learn about bike repair and has restored many bicycles.
According to Laraway, BICAS holds an annual art auction during the first weekend in December. The group invites community members to donate art and help it raise money for its current goal of buying a warehouse.
—Follow Kacie Claudel @kmclaudel