See: “There’s something to be said for getting up early, otherwise you miss the beautiful views,” said Morrison of her 4:00 a.m. wake-up call to hike the canyon and paint the sun rising over the desert. “It was a remarkable and almost spiritual experience,” she explained. “The sky transitioning from pink to orange to blue was so beautiful and everything was so still.”
With the entire day ahead, Morrison suggests stopping at the San Xavier Mission, a historic landmark in Tucson. “They call it the White Dove of the Desert. The white and orange of the mission against the blue sky is really striking,” she said. She also recommends spending some time at the Tucson Art Museum, which features an interesting mix of Native American and contemporary art. Round out the downtown experience with a visit to local artisans who create impressive pieces via a variety of different mediums ranging from fabric to paint. Morrison was particularly impressed by Lisa Kanouse, a Tucson native known for her bold and colorful paintings that capture the American Southwest. “It was really cool to see a local artist incorporating some of the same methods I use into her work,” she said.
And be sure to keep an eye out for Ben’s Bells, a non-profit that promotes kindness by creating hundreds of clay bells that are hung randomly in public places throughout Tucson with a written message that encourages anyone who finds one to take it home and pass on the love. “It’s really for people to happen upon by chance and there’s something really sweet about that,” said Morrison. “You never know who might need that message of hope and joy when they find it."