By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing Editor
A five-year project ended with a quiet gathering of Helping Hands Hospice board of directors members and artist Doug Quarles, who posed for pictures Monday at the Eyes on 66 mural in Tucumcari.
Quarles, a former Tucumcari resident whose murals have given the city the nickname “the City of Murals” returned to the city over the weekend to finish the Eyes on 66 project, which he started five years ago, along with some other projects.
From the mural, 32 pairs of eyes gaze eastward onto Historic Route 66, each belonging to an individual who donated money to have their eyes join the stare-down onto Tucumcari’s main drag, according to Mary Jimenez, president of the hospice board.
Eventually, Jimenez said, the hospice group hopes to hold a fund-raising contest in which the object will be to name all the eye-owners.
The mural also includes some subtle reminders that it’s on Route 66, Quarles said. Each rectangle, he said, is 24 by 66 inches. In addition, he said, there are 66 eyes in the mural.
A visitor is likely to count 32 pairs of eyes on the wall, making 64, but there are two more eyes on the mural. They belong to hospice board member Diana Beck, whose life-size likeness appears at ground level on the lower left corner of the wall-size work. Her peepers bring the total to 66.
The mural has raised about $10,000 for the hospice group, Jimenez said. Proceeds have come from the people whose eyes appear on the wall. Each paid for the privilege of having their forward gazes painted into the mural.
Quarles said there is no plan, alphabetical or chronological, to how the eyes are arranged on the wall.
“It’s random,” he said.