Shrine to Jim Griffith: Remembering TMY’s co-founder

James “Big Jim” Griffith died in December 2021 at age 86. Co-founder with his wife Loma of Tucson Meet Yourself, Jim attended the festival every year, gracing its stages with his wisdom, charm, enthusiasm, and his singing and banjo-playing! With a PhD in cultural anthropology and art history from the University of Arizona, Jim was well-equipped to study the cultures of the region. But it was his respectful demeanor and humility that helped him connect to others in order to learn about their traditions and practices. Once he was exposed to O’odham waila music, Yaqui ceremony, Polish folk dance, Mexican paper arts, Old Time music and so many other folk traditions of Southern Arizona and the border region, he wanted to share those expressions with others. He wanted those of us living in Tucson to know our collective cultural wealth, to meet one another in the public square and dine together, sing together, dance together, make beauty together. 

We honor his spirit and legacy this year with a special shrine, built by José Duran and Vanda Pollard. Stop by to share your memories of Jim, add something to the alter, or choose one of his many books (by donation) to take home and continue your education about the rich region he so loved. 

James “Big Jim” GriffithJ
July 30, 1935 — December 18, 2021

Purchase a tee shirt printed with this beautiful portrait by Tucson artist,
Jessica Gonzales. $20 at the Shrine.

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