Dr Chip Thomas is a native of North Carolina who went to Diné (Navajo) Nation decades ago as a fulfillment of a National Health Services Corps scholarship he had received. He arrived in this area in 1987.
Decades later he began to paint large scale murals on abandoned buildings throughout the area. Early on he painted what he believed to be an abandoned roadside stand, only to find it was still used and the new art attracted more business. These stands are crucial to the economic survival of the community.
The mural in Gray Mountain is on an old motel that had been owned by a group known as the Whiting Brothers, who had a chain of motels all along route 66 and elsewhere in the west.
The art is a tribute to the Diné Nation and their struggles and heritage, and was completed by Dr Thomas as well as Diné artists.