Monday, May 31, 2010

Mosaic Murals near Country Club

These mosaic panels are along Aviation Bikeway, just east of Country Club.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tile on brick at W.V. Whitmore Elementary

Tucson-area schools are one of the best places to find murals. (Click on the "Search This Blog" button in the right column and type school.) W.V. Whitmore Elementary, on Glenn west of Craycroft, is no exception.

With all of the brick buildings in Tucson, though, Whitmore is different because their front-wall mural is tile on top of brick instead of paint. I'm not sure when these murals were created, but their message — and the message from the art on the other side of the windows they surround — is still relevant.

After months of posting mural photos most days of the week, it's time for me to take a break. I have a backlog of murals to post; I'll put one online here every week or so. If you'd like to contribute to everyone's enjoyment of Tucson's many murals, please send photos of your finds to Randy or me!

Update (February 15, 2014): Artist Robin Riley,, worked with students on this tile.

Update (July 25, 2016): Here are more murals at Whitmore.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Excess land with murals (and graffiti)

The Arizona Department of Transportation has been unloading downtown land and buildings. (Another example is the former Art's BBQ.)

This plot, tucked between 538 N. Stone (the first photo) and 546 N. Stone (the second), includes wraparound murals and a few "bonus" tags.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


This mural, on the side of a gallery at 1416 S. 6th Avenue, is about as simple as you can get. (To me, it's more than a generic "wall treatment" because the design isn't regular and it fits the wall and the windows.) The live cactus in front look great — especially with all the rain we've had this spring.

Update (November 15, 2012): Yesterday's post shows the east side of the building.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ochoa Elementary, north side

Tucson muralist David Tineo helped students paint a building on the north side of the school in 1997:

A spot on the side wall lists students' names.

Update (October 23, 2012): There are more murals on the west side and the east side.

Ochoa Elementary, west side

Unless you're there during the school day, you'll see the long west wall of Ochoa School from a distance... you might want to bring binoculars. It's covered end to end with murals.

We're looking from 7th Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets... click for a bigger view (use your browser's "Back" button to come back):

Here's a part from near the middle of the wall.

Update (October 23, 2012): don't miss the long mural on the east side or the north-side mural by muralist David Tineo and students.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Goodbye, Casbah

I'm not into smoking hookahs, which was one of the main attractions of the Casbah Teahouse and Restaurant, 628 N. 4th Avenue. (If that's what you're looking for, maybe the best spot now is a block north and east at Smiley's Ultimate Hookah Lounge.) Still, this was one of the best places in town to enjoy a night outdoors — sometimes with entertainment from belly dancers, or simply from the other people who were there in the evening you happened to stop by.

Here are photos of the four pieces of art along the north-side passageway of this former Tucson nightspot. The top-right mural is signed signed Nov. 1993 P. Schricker and the one at the bottom right is signed J. Hartmann (c) '94.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Balloons on 29th

Here's one of the bright spots along 29th Street in South Tucson: Balloon Land, at the corner with 8th Avenue.

Update (November 17, 2012): There are new murals.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hidden David Tineo

Tucson muralist David Tineo has works all over town. (To see more of them, search for Tineo in the search box near the top of the right column in this blog — and check back as we add more of them.) If you haven't seen his retrospective at the Tucson Museum of Art, it's open through July 4th.

This mural, on an empty building at the corner of 28th Street & 7th Avenue, is one of the projects he did with students. It's signed Rico mural project and Tineo 93.

(Update: An Arizona Daily Star article on July 6, 2008 by Ernesto Portillo Jr., Kids repaint graffiti-marred landmark mural: Youth-to-Youth program is rescuer, tells the story of kids repainting the 1993 mural.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Next at the Rialto...

Joe Pagac's mural to the right of the (current) Cypress Hill mural (on the east wall at 318 E. Congress) is for Cage the Elephant on June 10th:

The shadows are from early-morning light.

Joe's website is

Update (May 15, 2010): Today the Arizona Daily Star published a story about Joe's murals — including this one. It's This Tucson artist sees the big picture.

Canceled mural

Muralist Joe Pagac has been painting a series of concert murals on the side of the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress downtown. (You can find others in the table of murals.)

He painted one for the Cypress Hill concert on May 21... then, after Cypress Hill canceled the concert, he (or someone) painted a notice over the mural. The before-and-after views:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Topping taggers

Got graffiti? You could try what neighbors at 10th & University did — painted murals over the black tags:

Update (July 3, 2017): The shaded spot in front of the dragon now has a table and some benches. (You can click there to see it on the Tucson's Pocket Parks blog.)

Trash replaced by tags

In September, 2008, Randy wrote about a mural on the corner of E. Toole Ave. & N. 7th Ave. (119 E. Toole) that was half-hidden by trash. The trash has been there every time I've gone by -- until this morning. Here's the view today:

Instead of garbage, there's graffiti. I've wondered whether there's some kind of tagging-resistant overcoat that muralists could paint onto their work when they're done -- like the graffiti-stopping paint that's used on some downtown walls? It's too late in this case, I'm afraid...

(Update: When I rode by on November 25, 2010, the mural was gone.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Maybe a mural, part six

In the past month, Randy and I have been talking about exactly what a mural is. That's part of what got me started on this "maybe a mural" series of posts. Yesterday I finally came up with a definition. I wrote "I've thought of a mural as art applied directly to a wall — as long it's not hung on (like a framed picture) or basically just a repeating pattern (like the geometric designs of mountains and etc. that run down some of the walls and bridges on freeways)."

So, of course, this morning I'm out on my bicycle in the Dunbar/Spring neighborhood (a great place for murals)... and what do I see?

Right: a mural with a wooden frame around it, mounted so it looks like it's hanging on a galvanized metal wall — on Ferro Avenue at 7th Street. (It's signed LA Hook.)

Whatever. :)

Maybe a mural, part five

The building at 191-197 East Toole is covered with contradictions. Are these tagging, doodles, or art? Here's the northeast wall, from the top of the 6th Avenue underpass:

The southeast side has these three:

Brilliant? Blasphemous? Boring? What do you think?

(The building also houses Skrappy's — and has another wild mural on its northwest wall.)

Maybe a mural, part four

Back on April 21, I posted the first three of this "maybe a mural" series. (If you missed them, you can go to the April posts and scroll down a bit.) Here's another example. I might call it a doodle instead of a mural: smoke-like curls and a business name. It's on Hoff, at the southwest corner with 7th Street.

(Update: I rode by here again on October 19, 2010. The wall is covered with white paint.)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mission View (or Mural View?) Elementary

Miasion View Elementary, on 37th Street at 8th Avenue in South Tucson, is a good spot for mural lovers. You'll find three of them in the half block west of 8th Avenue:

Update (October 8, 2015): There's another mural along the west side.

Update (July 3, 2024): Today's post Mission View Elementary blasts off shows the same building on the west side, but with a new mural. Also, the July 1, 2024 post "Mural View Elementary" is a better name shows the three murals photographed above — and others too.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Yes to murals!

This mural wraps around the playground at Project Yes, the Angel Family Center, the Tucson Urban League Inc., at the corner of 37th Street and 8th Avenue.
Update (September 21, 2021): There's now a school here; the murals are different. Today's post Las Puertas Community School has lots of photos.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Welcome (not) to Rose Neighborhood

On District Street, at the corner of 16th Avenue, used to be a group of murals to welcome you to the Rose Neighborhood. (Rose Neighborhood is at the eastern edge of Tucson's Ward 1.) Though taggers usually seem to respect murals, they've ruined these:

One mural is still in pretty good shape — except for graffiti from "ROSS" (or is it "BOSS"?):

Update (September 17, 2012): The murals are gone.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Superheroes and a rose

Along the busy parking lot at Marymar & Raspados, 4766 S. 6th, are these two murals with different themes.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Subtle mural on the south side

Most murals have bright colors and a bold design, but this mural is different. Drive up close to the Family Resource & Wellness Center, on Michigan Drive just west of 13th Avenue, to get a better look.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Amazing mural in a surprising spot

I spot murals in some out-of-the-way places, but I still wouldn't expect to see an exquisitely-detailed desert mural next to a nondescript freeway entrance ramp. Thanks to a tip from a man who takes the ramp from Irvington to northbound I-19 every workday, I headed out with my camera to find this gem: It was worth the trip: finely detailed life-like plants and animals on the wall between an ugly onramp and a generic shopping center. As soon as you make the turn north from Irvington, be ready to pull off... and watch for potholes as you try to park. Here's another section (click to enlarge): The mural is signed, but the website seems to be down. I found a listing, though: "Jos Villabrille, Tucson artist painting murals for home and business." Update (August 12, 2011): Philip Synder has great close-up photos of parts of this long mural on his SmugMug page Irvington mural, Tucson.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Lots of water on South 15th

This water-themed mural is on the wall in front of a Tucson Water well at 4734 S. 15th (the corner with Tennessee):

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Four great murals on Irvington

You'll find long and spectacular murals on the tops of the buildings at El Pueblo Neighborhood Center, 101 W. Irvington. The eastern building is topped by this mural signed "79 D. Tineo D. Garza":

(You can click on any image for a larger view. Click your browser's "back" button to return.) Next is a mural signed "S.D. Egan 5-5-86":

The third and fourth murals are unsigned (as far as I could see). They're also showing their age, with some peeling paint and water damage:

(That's part of a tree covering the top of the mural.)

(That's a streetlight in the middle.)

One more mural is on the side of the building between the first and second, but it's almost completely covered by a tree. It's faded, too, so check it out yourself before it's too late (or before it's restored?).

Monday, May 03, 2010

Baseball murals at Rudy Garcia Park

The snack bar by the baseball fields at Rudy Garcia Park, on Irvington east of 6th, is covered with murals about... baseball. Here's the east wall...

...and the north wall, which is behind a fence and partly covered by other stuff:

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Murals by moonlight

I'm an early riser… when the weather gets hot, at least. Last week's hot spell and the full moon gave me an idea: head out just before sunrise with my tripod to try photographing spooky murals by moonlight. It didn't work out as well as I thought it might because the streetlights in the area I picked — Toole Avenue and north on Stone — were a lot brighter than the moon. But the photos were spooky.

First, here's a shot with the full moon in the sky behind this mural-covered building at Council & Toole. (Also check out the daylight version.)

Across Toole, on the side of the building that's recently become the new home of the Tucson Youth Collective (usually called Skrappys), is this bizarre collection of scenes from Tucson and somewhere in the Universe (which you also can see in daylight):

North on Stone, just north of the corner of Speedway and Stone (1122 N. Stone), is a mural that's colorful in daylight but eerie in moonlight/lamplight:

This was a long time exposure — a minute or so — which gave me plenty of time to walk in front of the mural and paint the skulls with a flashlight to make them brighter (as Tucson photographer Stu Jenks might have done). As always on this blog, you can click on any photo for a larger view.