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Duo behind I Art Globe create nonprofit to expand vision

Regina Ortega-Leonardi and Thea Wilshire are not content to rest on the laurels of the successes in their mission to make Globe and the entire Copper Corridor a more attractive place for people to live and love.

The pair is expanding their vision of “radical hope, gratitude, and defiant resilience” through the recent establishment of a new 501(c)3 organization that will act as an umbrella for a number of existing initiatives and projects they hope to champion throughout rural Arizona.

Love Where You Live recently gained its nonprofit status and will act as an umbrella organization for several other initiatives, including I Art Globe, the Globe Trash Mob and the Cathy Sanchez-Cañez Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Ortega-Leonardi honoring the late Miami High School teacher who died in July 2019 when her vehicle was washed away in a flash flood.

Umbrella organizations function as fiscal sponsors for initiatives and programs it oversees, and with its 501(c)3 designation can raise money that donors can deduct from their taxes.

LWYL will also be able to provide grants that Wilshire hopes to eventually offer as she identifies revenue streams through grants and donations to become more fiscally stable.

“Love Where You Live is more than just art, it’s about placemaking,” Wilshire says. “If you get an emotional connection to a place, it could be an event, it could be a park, it could be all sorts of things that are more than just art.”

The work Wilshire and Ortega-Leonardi have done through multi-year efforts include projects under I Art Globe from the mural throughout the city to the recently created Stairizona Trail, a community project that rehabilitated public stairways in town to highlight a piece of Globe’s history and to create an attraction for visitors.

Regina and Thea are well known for their work in launching the Stairizona project and I ART GLOBE, and they are expanding their vision with the newly formed Love Where You Live.
Courtesy Photo

Wilshire, who served on City Council from 2008 to 2012, took the lead on the creation of the tool lending library at the Globe Active Adult Center, the establishment Old Dominion Mine Park, which is no longer open to the public, as well as the dog park at Nofsgar Hill and the annual Dogtoberfest celebration.

LWYL collaborated with the City of Globe and Boyce Thompson in securing these five desert trees at Globe’s Dog Park. Courtesy photo

Ortega-Leonardi has led several urban renewal efforts and in the wake of the death of her friends Sanchez-Cañez spearheaded efforts to teach people about the dangers of flash flooding, particularly during the monsoon season.

She also took the lead in the creation of a 2023 Fiesta Bowl float honoring Arizona’s first female governor and Globe native Rose Mofford.

It was during her stint on Council that Wilshire met Ortega-Leonardi when they both joined the Globe Arts Advisory Commission to become a powerhouse of hometown positivity.

Now they want to spread that throughout the entire region.

“I feel Thea and I were very much the champions of all of our activities through I Art Globe and with Love Where You Live, we’re having more of an opportunity to find champions, folks with their own ideas, and support them,” Ortega-Leonardi says. “That being said, we already have four pages of different ideas and thoughts and initiatives.”

The Cottonwood Underpass Project (CUP) showcased the talents of multiple artists and is a must-see when visiting Globe. Photo by LCGross

True to form, LWYL’s first big project is likely to be art-based, with a five-community mural project the organization has already received a $20,000 grant to pursue.

They’ve reached out to several towns in the area and have received support moving forward from mayors of towns including Hayden and Superior.

“We’re one of the stronger communities in the Copper Corridor and I think that we as a group could brand together and help each other so all of us benefit,” Wilshire says. “The five murals will hopefully be visible from the highway at Winkelmann, Hayden, Kearney, Superior and Miami, because we just finished the giant mining mural in Globe.”

Until the planned projects come to fruition, Wilshire and Ortega-Leonardi are working on the basics of getting the nonprofit up and running, including creating content for the new website at https://livable2lovable.com. They are also moving their social media presence on Facebook from I Art Globe to LWYL at www.facebook.com/groups/258088903887839.

“One of the top things I’m working on right now is getting our website established figuring out the transition from folks thinking about I Art Globe, and all the good things that we’ve done, to having them to get more involved and plugged into Love Where You Live initiatives,” Ortega-Leonardi says. “Between Thea and I, our resources go deep, so that is definitely a big, positive contributing factor for anything that we participate in.”

Beyond the local work, the duo hopes to create a template that can be replicated in other communities throughout the state or even the country.

“We’re definitely helping create a model or a template,” Ortega-Leonardi says. “Looking at a larger scale, one of the skill sets Thea brings to the table is her public speaking ability. So for her to take our story and expand it to other states, as she already has, is important. Our story is worth telling and sharing with other communities.”


  1. Good morning! I recently read your article in Arizona Highways magazine and I am interested in either taking the guided tour, or possibly just walking through as much of the 6.4 miles of trail myself. The article states tours are only on the first Saturday of each month, up to May. Are there any openings for the month of April? What time does the tour start? How long (miles) is the tour? I am hoping to do the entire trail, but I know it would be too much for my wife. Are different tour lengths available?
    It has been about three years since our last visit to Globe. Your new trail sounds like a perfect reason to visit again. Keep up your great work and efforts!

    • Hi, Tim. I’m so glad you’re interested in the Stairizona Trail. I’m one of the people who leads the tours and we’re trying to have a regular one each month, but will also schedule personal tours for small groups. The tour usually lasts about two hours and explores the shorter route, which is about 1.4 miles. If your wife cannot walk this, we have indicated on the map which art projects are viewable from a car. Quite a few can be seen that way. There is a map of the trail on the Globe Miami Times website, if you’d like to download it. Please feel free to email us at livable2lovable@google.com or call our hotline at (808) 373-0032.
      Thanks, Thea

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