Mural dedicated to Nick Oza, beloved friend of photojournalism community and beyond
A gorgeous mural was dedicated to two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning Arizona Republic photographer Nick Oza on March 26, 2022, in Phoenix, Arizona. About 100 people from the community and beyond showed up to express their love and friendship for Oza, who died on Sept. 27, 2021, as a result of injuries suffered in a car accident.
When Oza died, Joshua Lott, a photojournalist for The Washington Post based in Chicago, kept thinking about a mural and started fundraising to make it happen. Lott became fast friends with Oza in 2009 when he moved to Phoenix. He knew nothing about the area and Todd Heisler and Jon Lowenstein advised him to meet Oza because he knew everything about Phoenix. Oza became like a brother to Lott.
“He became a great friend and kind of a father figure,” Lott said in a phone call. “He had the ability to care for people and he forgot to care about himself.”
“We got lucky,” Lott said of finding muralist Lucinda "La Morena" Hinojos. It turns out that Hinojos and Oza knew one another and were great friends since 2015 when he took an interest in her first mural that championed immigration rights. Hinojos used many of Oza’s photographs as inspiration and in 2017 they did a gallery show together.
“Nick was so close to the activist community,” Lott said. “He was well known in Phoenix and really, throughout Arizona. He would get a big laugh about this, but he would appreciate it.”
The mural is located at McDowell Rd. and Grand Ave and 19th Ave across from the Arizona State Fairgrounds.
The Arizona Republic has a wonderful video by Patrick Breen.
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