Meet Gretchen Baer, the #bisbeecreator Who Helps Create Beauty on the Border Wall

If you have visited Bisbee, then you have probably seen some pretty unique art cars driving around town. One of the more well-known art cars is the Hillary Clinton art car that belongs to Bisbee local, Gretchen Baer.

Gretchen in her studio at Central School Project. Photo by Julius Schlosburg

Gretchen is a Bisbee Creator who has lived in Bisbee for 27 years now. She is a painter, art car creator, free art center Director, and soon to be an author.

Gretchen is the director of a free art center for border kids, Studio Mariposa. It’s right across the border on the Mexican side of Naco, Sonora, Mexico. They offer arts programming to 50-100 kids a week, and they do all sorts of projects from painting to weaving, to music, to anything and everything that might come up. They are a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. Their mission is to show kids that anything is possible if you think creatively.

The organization is completely donation and volunteer-based. Your donations go far to provide free art and music classes for kids on the other side of the border wall. Learn more about how you can support the project at

Gretchen has an on-going show that is up all year at Café Roka in downtown Old Bisbee. The show is changing constantly since the paintings are selling pretty well. A piece you see this week may not be there next, but it will be replaced by something new and fabulous that Gretchen in cooking up at her art studio in Central School Project, a non-profit arts center in the heart of historic Old Bisbee.

She is currently working on a children’s book called Mariposa’s Wall, with the graphic designer, Bridget Shanahan. Funded by a grant from the Arizona Commission On The Arts It's a book about a little girl who paints the border wall and changes her town. The book is currently in development and it’s a very exciting project for Gretchen, so keep an eye out.

Gretchen working with kids at Studio Mariposa. Photo by Julius Schlosburg

What is your favorite thing about Bisbee?

My favorite thing about Bisbee is the community and people that live here. I think people are really eclectic; all kinds of artists, musicians, all sorts of people that are creative. And I like how supportive everybody is of each other's works and projects. So on top of the beautiful architecture, the lovely weather and all the other things that we have that are so great, when you get down to it, it’s really all the people that live here that make it so fantastic.

Gretchen in front of her art car and free art center in Naco Mexico. Photo by Julius Schlosburg

What is a piece of advice that you would give to a visitor?

To a visitor, I would say explore. Just have free time, wander around, walk around. Walk around Old Bisbee, there is so much to look at. Make sure to find time to spend time in the cafés, or restaurants, or bars - wherever you like to go and spend time with the people because as I’ve said there are some really interesting and spectacular people here and just be open to meeting them.

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