Sunday, May 31, 2009

Many more murals, no more time...

With Randy away in Iraq, I've been trying to pick up the slack this month… riding my bicycle around Tucson early in the morning, checking out murals that were already on this blog and finding new ones. I hope these new murals will keep you mural-lovers busy for a while! (While you're out exploring, please grab your camera and send photos of other murals you find to Randy.)

This scene, just after sunrise on the wall of 668 S. Main (at 18th St.), seemed like a good way to end a month's worth of murals.

Four photos at Five Points

Just west of Five Points on 18th Street is this block-long urban art. I took it in four (digital) photos and put them together with the filmstrip tool in GIMP, the powerful free image editor. (As always on this blog, you can click on the image to get a bigger view.)

More on Meyer

This mural, at 600 S. Meyer, was painted earlier this year (2009).

Update (July 9, 2012): Johanna Martinez painted the mural. You can read more about it, and see more of her work, on her Sage Brush Studio website. To see all of her murals on this blog, click on her name in the “Labels:” list below.

Marvelous Meyer

There are several murals along this street in the Barrio Viejo. (You can find others in the mural map.) This one's at 555 S. Meyer.

Update (May 31, 2019): Who was the artist? The scroll of paper near the bottom of the painting is signed “Francisco / 1990”:

Another painting in the same style, signed “Francisco” but without a date, is shown in today's blog entry Little mural painted for Patricia. If you know, please leave a comment below. (You can remain anonymous.)

Update (June 20, 2019): Thenks to David Aber for tracking down the artist. It's Francisco Franklin, a Tucson artist for 50 years. He sells other artwork, too; he's represented by Jane Hamilton Fine Art. His page on her website is

Carrillo School

This mural takes a bit of hunting to find -- unless you're at Carrillo School, that is. I caught this view across the street from 428 S. Samaniego.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Twelfth Street revisited

After reading Randy's story and photos of artist Cliff Brown painting murals, you might be surprised to know that there are even more murals here at 346 E. 12th! The first one you'll probably spot is this wraparound mosaic.

Thanks, Roadrunner Hostel, for giving Tucson visitors such an artistic welcome.

Update (October 20, 2014): A photo of the mural on the parking lot behind the hostel is on today's entry, Roadrunner's back.

Spider mural

Though a spider isn't the only feature of this mural on 5th at Congress, it looks amazingly realistic in this photo, wouldn't you say? As always, you can click on the photo for a larger view.

The main artists were Rock Martinez, Chris Rush, Eurice Gomez, Alex Fass, and about a dozen young artists.

(Update: Here's the same wall on October 19, 2010.)

Mural brightens motonony

Strip malls aren't always charming. But this one brightens its part of Broadway with colorful cactus. (The address is 1221 E. Broadway.)

Sunset at sunrise

Early summer mornings are a great time to go mural-hunting: the streets are quiet, the air is cool, and there's no one behind you honking as you slow down to gawk. (Even better, go on your bicycle!)

Somehow this mural — on the west side of the Roses & More building, Tucson Blvd. at Broadway — seems to me like a sunset view. The sun was rising as I snapped this photo.

Chris Andrews painted the mural.

Update (May 7, 2019): For more color, see today's entry More Roses & More photos from Chris Andrews.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Even if you're driving by in a car, you can't miss this mural on the west side of the AccessTucson building, 124 E. Broadway. (You might want to stop by, though, to take a closer look.) It's titled “Girls Unchained.” The Tucson Weekly article from January 5, 2004, Pick: Girls Kick Ass has lots of information.

Chicago re-(re-)visited

Thanks to the Chicago Music Store, 130 E. Congress, for adding so much art to downtown! The building is wrapped in murals. This is in the alley on the south side -- next to another mural that keeps changing as time goes on. (To see earlier versions, click on all of the entries for 130 E. Congress in the mural listing.)

Giant plants (or tiny buildings)

One of the things I like most about painting is that artists can shift perspective and make, say, a barrel cactus as big as a building. Here's an example: the wall around a patio on the south side of the Armory Park Senior Citizens' Recreation Center. It's on the northwest corner of 13th Street & 5th Avenue.

Grand entrance

Two murals decorate the two-story north entrance to Safford Elementary School. I took this shot from outside the fence at the corner of 13th Street and 5th Avenue. (The entrance is about a block away, so bring your binoculars or a zoom lens — or ask the school office for permission to get closer.)

Update (July 30, 2012): There's a mural at the back of the school. See The World at 14th & Herbert.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

La Pilita Museum

Next to the El Tiradito shrine is the La Pilita Museum at 420 South Main.

Update: the major mural is gone — temporarily, at least. It was taken down in summer 2010 during construction work on the building. But here's another mural, in the building's back yard, snapped by Melo King in October 2010:

Update (May 28, 2010): The re-painted mural is almost finished. The new design is somewhat different.

Update (August 17, 2012): Today’s post shows more murals.

Country in the city

This countryside scene runs the whole length of the south side of the Tucson Yoga building at 12th Street and 4th Avenue. As with all of the other photos in this blog, you can click for a bigger view.

You can see the mural on the building's east side in the post Country in the city, part 2.

Bright on Broadway

On Broadway at 5th Avenue, this colorful mural is on the outside of the Childrens Black + White Photography Gallery.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bikes and murals

BICAS (Bicycle Inter Community Action & Salvage) is a non-profit bicycle recycling and education center, where you can get bicycle parts, work on bikes, take classes on art (and bicycle repair), and more. Like a lot of the downtown warehouse district these days, things at BICAS aren't at all certain.
For now, at least, their walls are decorated with murals -- like this one on the alley named Ash, just north of 6th Street.

Murals past and present

The murals reported here, less than a year ago, at 300 N. 4th and 400 N. 4th, are both gone. Times change, and so do murals...

There's another bright spot on the block, though: wall-filling murals on both sides of the outdoor stage around Winsett Park, 316 N. 4th. Here's the south side:

and a part of the one on the north:

Bicycles on stage shows the mural behind the stage.

Update (May 7, 2012): The May 5, 2012 post has wraparound photos all around Winsett Park.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Arte para y por los estudiantes

Was your school playground lined with murals? It was if you went to Davis Bilingual Learning Center, 500 W. St. Marys (at Granada). This artistic school is one of the many bright spots you'll find around this arty corner of Tucson, nestled against the east side of I-10. (Check the mural table to find more of them.) Thanks to the students, mentors, the Barrio Anita Association's mural restoration program, and a mural grant from the City of Tucson.

Though the gates were open and no one was around during the early morning time I was there, you might want to check with the school office (520/225-1400) before you come on your own tour.

Update (June 12, 2013): Here are more photos.

Train, trolley, and a three-eyed alien

Next to the tracks, along one end of the Toole Parking Lot (191 E. Toole) is this wild mural that includes a bunch of Tucson landmarks, a guy (?) with a paint roller over the courthouse dome, a saguaro, a locomotive, the archway at El Tiradito, and much more. I'll let you find the alien yourself, but here’s a hint: look for the paper airplane.

Update (May 1, 2010): Here's another detail from the same mural at night (it's the second photo on that page). If you compare that photo to this one, you'll see that the later version of the mural has a lot more detail added in the “sky” and the doorways. (If you'd like to jump between the two, try your browser's "back" and "forward" buttons.)

Update (May 21, 2015): The mural has been (mostly) covered by white paint.

Update (September 18, 2015): There's a new mural at the right end of the wall.

A treat along Toole

Even with the refurbished railroad depot to spruce up the area, let’s face it: Toole Avenue isn’t exactly gorgeous. But, along with other murals in the neighborhood, this mural-fronted building, La Frontera ("The Border"), spruces up one side of the street. It’s at the corner of Council & Toole.

Update (May 1, 2010): Here’s the same mural at night.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

You can find art (almost) anywhere

Humble murals are okay here! (Right, Randy??) And these murals — at the northwest corner of the bridge across the Silvercroft Wash, near 1700 West Speedway — have some creative tricks. Those raindrops under the cloud on the left side, for instance, cover what look to me like plugged holes in the concrete.
I do most of my mural-hunting on a bicycle. That makes it easier to spot art in places that aren't so obvious (and is a fun way to get some exercise, too).

You can't see it during the day...

...because the painted garage doors here are open then! I snapped this photo early in the morning while Netto's Auto Clinic was closed. It's at 513 W. Ajo Way.

Update (September 17, 2012): The murals are mostly gone, with missing paint and stains.

Art inside and out

The Arts & Culture Partnership, at 35th & South Park, has spaces for artists inside and art for you outside. It's part of a street full of art -- starting 11 blocks north at 24th & Park.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Angels on Park

Billy Sanchez, the artist who did the murals at 30th and S. Park, has been busy down here! He painted more murals for kids at Little Angels Day Care, which is a few blocks farther south at 34th & Park.

Smokin' on South Park

The front of the MVP Smoke Lounge at 2010-B South Park (just south of 30th St.) is covered by this larger-than-life mural that pretty much says it all.

South from 24th St. on Park...

Head south on Park Avenue to 24th Street. On the west side of the street you'll see pillars that introduce what's ahead of you. The pillars tell some mid-20th-century Tucson history that I'd never heard: the African-American community of South Park Avenue, South Park Political Club, free movies under the stars at Mirasol Park, and a lot more.

Up ahead are tile-decorated bridges, bus stops, and benches to rest on. They continue, here and there, until you get to 36th and Park. (You might want to bicycle or catch a bus, by the way, because this'll all zoom by if you're in a car.) While you're in the neighborhood, check out other murals nearby.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ironic, isn't it?

This 1997 mural, titled "Don't Waste the Scenic Santa Ritas", is on Queen Avenue between 4th & 5th Streets. When I stopped by a few days ago, the mural and the credits to the Tucson Arts Brigade were partly covered by barbed wire and old junk.

Electrifying art ("artifying" electricity?)

One block in the Dunbar Spring neighborhood is filled with a power substation. The view is nicer than it would be, though, thanks to the green fence around it and the art on the corners. Here's the corner of 4th Street at 11th Avenue:
Update (October 10, 2012): There are more murals on the next corner.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Just add water. (Murals provided.)

The artwork here isn't exactly murals... it's actually tile. But this unused plot — which looks to me like it was a community garden at one time — is in the same neighborhood with other murals, and it's worth a look! (The gate was locked when I was there.) It's at the corner of Anita and Williams.

Coming soon...

The I-10 widening project has added a lot of art along the freeway -- and around it, too. Here's the scene from the west end of Williams Street, for instance.

The far right side of this mural (behind the "Road Closed" sign) shows the front of the Anita St. Market, which has two murals of its own! (Too bad you can't see those murals in this mural...)

Murals in (on) store

These two murals are on the side of the Anita St. Market, on Lord St. at the corner with Anita St. Though it's just a block away from I-10, there's a real neighborhood feeling here.

While you're here, check out other murals in the neighborhood, too; there are a lot!

I took the photo on May 14th.

Update (July 23, 2019): Today's blog entry shows the left-side mural repainted.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Land (and a mural) for sale

Want a scenic view every time you pull into your parking lot? Just make a deal with the Arizona Department of Transportation for this lot at the southwest corner of 6th St. & Main. It comes complete with a piece of what looks to me like Monument Valley, with lush plants in front and an eagle above... even a window in the middle where you can peer into the building.

This is the former Art's BBQ that Randy wrote about just six months ago. I didn't realize until I started making the new table of mural locations. It might help you, too, if you want to go mural hunting.

A fun (but not smart) place to skip class

Who, me? I'd never suggest truancy to you students at Tucson Magnet High School. (Besides, this long series of portraits and other tile works is on the wall just south of the school -- along 8th Street, just west of Euclid -- where you'd be easy to spot.) So, come with your classmates when school's out!

The rest of us can visit anytime -- maybe on a walk with the dog, or a stroll with your friends -- to enjoy all the variety that stretches along a lot of the block.

On my honor, I will try...

A ribbon with that pledge stretches the whole length of this Girl Scout mural on their building near the southeast corner of Broadway & Columbus. If you were, or are, a Girl Scout, the symbols that line the bottom of the mural will probably mean a lot more to you than they do to me! But I recognized people in the news, and names of events, that run along the top of the wall. There are lots of happy Scouts, too. Just try to come early in the morning before the sun bakes this west-facing wall -- and before cars fill the parking spaces that line the mural's bottom edge.

Update (April 12, 2012): Cindy Guare painted this amazing mural.

Wall-busting mural

Norhing bashful about this guy! He's smashing through the front wall of Bashful Bandit, on the southwest corner of Speedway and Dodge.

Update (November, 2021): The bar has been sold; it will become a BBQ restaurant. The mural is broken and, I guess, won't be repaired.

Update (April 11, 2023): Remodeling is continuing. It looks like this mural will stay. There's a new bashful mural next to it. Today's post Bye-Bye, Bashful Bandit? has photos, info, as well as an Arizona Daily Star article with lots of history and photos.