Tucson has been home to countless artists over the decades, but some, like Gerry Peirce, stand out for their accomplishments.

Peirce was a painter and etcher who also wrote and illustrated books. He became a teacher and business owner during his many years as a resident of the Old Pueblo.

Peirce was born in Jamestown, New York, in 1900. After finishing his education, he drifted across the continent, living in Nova Scotia, New Orleans and Phoenix before settling with his wife in Tucson.

Demion Clinco, president of the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation, says Peirce then opened a studio where his work would be transformed by the influence of the Grand Canyon State.

"Peirce turned to the desert for inspiration, his prints capturing the tonality and stark grandeur of the Sonoran desert," Clinco says. "His compositions are infused with solace, dignity, and the ethereal beauty of the West."

Peirce died at the age of 68 in 1969, having spent most of his life in a part of the world that he came to love and represent in his art.

''For over 30 years his work helped shape national views of the region and the desert," Clinco says. "And through his establishment of meaningful cultural institutions, [he] influenced the cultural milieu of the city helping to make it the artistic center of Arizona."