Monday, October 31, 2011

Santa Theresa Tile Works

What would you expect from a business that makes tile designs? This sign/mural is on the west wall of 450 N. 6th Avenue, but the business is farther east along the south side of the building.

Their mosaic-style murals are all over Tucson. If you'd like to try your hand at tilework, they also offer workshops. There's more at

I took the photo on February 20th.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wheat Scharf Associates

These tile murals and plants were on the south wall of 440-442 North 6th Avenue on February 20.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Help wanted: finding each mural's story

It's been five years, and a few months, since former Tucson television news anchor Randy Garsee started posting mural photos on this blog. (You can click to see our first post, then use your browser's "Back" button to return.) A year later, I joined. As time went on, Randy asked me to take over much of the blog, and keep it updated.

Fast-forward to today: We have hundreds of mural photos online (and even more on the "unpublished" pages), but most of those have just the location and few other details. That's been my plan for when the weather cools this autumn: to go out and re-visit murals, ask people nearby what they know about the story, and share what I find online (on this blog and in other ways).

For more than a year now, Melodi King has been working on a second way for you to find murals and information about them: a clickable map and, especially, a database of info about each mural (name of artists, year painted, and much more).

Why was the mural painted? Who are the people in the mural? Everything we can learn will help to build the story of each of Tucson's murals (including murals that have been lost).

You can help, too. Do you or a neighbor have a mural on an outside home wall that everyone can see? Are you at a business, church, school, or any other building with a mural open to the public? Do you travel past a mural every day and have come to know either a story behind it or someone who does? If that sounds like you — or if you'd like to do some hunting in your own neighborhood — would you please let us know? For instance:
  • Put the info into the comment box by the mural post here on this blog. (If you aren't sure whether we have the mural, please send me a note, tell me where the mural is and a bit of what it looks like.)
  • If you'd like to send your comment privately, use the short comment form. Please fill in the Subject box with at least the word "mural".
  • If typing in a long story isn't your thing, or if you'd rather just talk, please give me a call at (520)302-4402. (I'm pretty busy, so I might need to call you back a bit later. If you get my voicemail, please tell me that you're calling about murals — and mention a few good days and times to reach you.)
The info you share will help us build a database of Tucson muralists — and also help both visitors and residents see much more of Tucson's fantastic murals.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Just a day too late for Chuy's

We're back from the archives (for a couple of days). Tuesday, I spotted murals on the west side of the now-closed Chuy's along Country Club at Speedway. Wednesday, thinking that I should go back and grab some photos before something happened, I drove by. But...

...too late. (By the way, there are more murals on the north and east sides, but they were trashed too.)

I happened to ride by the Patrick K. Hardesty Midtown Service Center at 1100 S. Alvernon and saw a sign that they maybe should have put up at Chuy's :-(...

Update (January 28, 2024): Germaine A Pesqueria (who's been painting since the 1990s) painted murals at all Chuy's locations. I'm hoping he has photos of these murals; I'll ask.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

This mural is way out

If something is still called "way out" when it's wonderful, fantastic, "cool," or whatever... well, this mural is of scenes way out of Earth. It's on top of 210 S. Plumer, the (former?) Tucson Optical Research Corp. building. I snapped it (way back) on February 17th.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Find the murals

It's actually not hard to spot the walls decorated with murals of desert plants — along with the real ones. It's especially easy in the second photo below. You'll find this lovely spot at 2709 E. La Madera Drive.

I found these murals on February 15th.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chato's Auto Service

Murals seem to go with car repair shops in the southern area of Tucson. In fact, just about everything has a mural in this part of town. You can get your start mural-hunting right here at Chato's Auto Service, 5124 S. 12th Avenue.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Toasted in more ways than one...

...was the building housing the (former?) Mi Casita Tortilla Factory at 4439 S. 6th Avenue, south of South Tucson. The soot above the window in the middle of this photo (taken January 30) made me think that there had been a fire here recently:

The painting here (within the mural) of a building like this tortilla factory — including a sign warning that the parking lot is for customers only — seems to have flames or smoke coming out of its chimney.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

South of South Tucson

The southern boundary of the City of South Tucson is (as its website says, "The Pueblo Within a City") at 40th Street and Benson Highway. Farther along 6th Avenue, on January 30, I came across this mural at Comisaria y Carneceria Jenny, 4407 S. 6th.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Adios, South Tucson

As you drive south out of the city of South Tucson, you'll pass this sign near 40th Street. It's on the sidewalk in front of 3002 S. 6th Avenue.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Another sunny bench in South Tucson

Here are another freestanding bench and mural in the arch theme that you'll find all around South Tucson. This photo was from January 16th, on the sidewalk in front of Quality Custom Ornamental Ironwork, 2114 S. 4th Avenue.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What Lou's Plumbing Supply sells...

...from their location at 2331 S. 4th Avenue in South Tucson, was shown in this scene on their south wall on January 16. It's a scene from — naturally enough — a home's bathroom.

The mural had been tagged at the bottom, and the tagging carefully painted out, so it wasn't noticeable as I took the photo. But the photo shows the tag too.

This may be a first: the first plumbing fixture mural!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

House of Neighborly Service, building 1

Last in the series from the House of Neighborly Service, 243 West 33rd Street in South Tucson, on January 16th, is this mural on the west wall of building 1, along 9th Avenue.

Update (November 19, 2012): You can see a newer mural in our post House of Neighborly Service, front gate.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

House of Neighborly Service, building 2

Next in the series from the House of Neighborly Service, 243 West 33rd Street in South Tucson, is this mural from the west wall of Building 2. It's signed MICHAEL ORTIZ / ISAAC.

Update (November 19, 2012): You can see a newer mural in our post House of Neighborly Service, front gate.

Monday, October 17, 2011

House of Neighborly Service, building 5

I found this mural (and two others — coming in the next two posts) at the House of Neighborly Service, 243 West 33rd Street, in South Tucson, on January 16th. It was facing a playground, on the east wall of building 5, and signed Karina A Gonzales.

Update (November 19, 2012): You can see a newer mural in our post House of Neighborly Service, front gate.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


This scene is the southeast corner of 2302 S. 4th Avenue, in the mural-filled city of South Tucson, on my January 16th bike trip. Though I jotted down the business name Eclipse MMA, the left panel of Google Maps says it's Mo-Sun Art and Wellness Center‎.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sunny bench in South Tucson

I spotted this sunny bench on the sidewalk in front of Jeff's Auto Parts, 2412 S. 4th Avenue in South Tucson, on January 16.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fourth Avenue arches

This isn't about the McDonald's on South 6th Avenue (here and here). A bit north and east are other welcoming arches you'll see — ten blocks after you enter the city of South Tucson from the north side — on 4th Avenue just north of 38th Street:

(As always, you can click for a larger view of a photo — and use your browser's "Back" button to come back.) Here's a detail from one of the arches:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Southside Community School

These photos are from January 16 around the campus at 2701 South Campbell.

This first mural, painted under a ramada, is large and full of detail:

A mosaic mural in the center of the basketball court...

...and another (partly destroyed — the day I visited, at least) behind the bleachers:

And last: This school sign by the parking lot entrance was far away, fenced-off on the Sunday I was there. I used a zoom lens to snap it:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Springtime in January

This sunny mural is behind a tree that tells the true story: it was January (2011) in Tucson. I snapped the photo with a zoom lens from a walkway between two fences in the back yard of Tucson Nursery School & Child Care Center, 2385 S. Plumer.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Before Columbus

This Columbus Day post is from the artist Aurore Chabo, her piece Cellular Synchronicity (7 parts) on the east side of Marley Building, 1145 E 4th. It's made of tile with embedded creatures from the College of Agriculture,Entymology, and Plant Sciences. She took objects that researchers were working on and cast them into tile. This is one of many outstanding murals and sculpture at the University of Arizona.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Jefferson Park Elementary

I took these photos over the fence, on January 6, from Warren Avenue between Hampton and Seneca. (Here's a map.) The school closed in 2010, but a recent news article (September 29, 2011) in the AZ Daily Star says it may be leased to the International School of Tucson. Let's hope the murals can stay!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Space exploration

Let's get back to the archives: January 4th, 2011. The theme of both of the mosaic murals comes from the title on the second one below. They line the bridge on Stella Road, just east of Lakeside Ridge Loop, south of Chuck Ford-Lakeside Park. The first one is on the northeast side, and the second is on the northwest:

A Google map shows GPS coordinates of 32.184583,-110.815989 and guesstimates the address as 8231-8273 East Stella Rd. (there are no houses along this part of Stella Road).

Friday, October 07, 2011

Tired of looking at murals?

After you've checked out what seems like miles of murals around the former Farmer John's at 1102 W. Grant Road, you can get a different experience Thursday-Sunday through the end of October:

Welcome! Come inside and soon murals will be the last thing on your mind. At least, that's the promise on the website for The Slaughter House, Tucson's non-profit (big) shop of horrors:

Enough already? Let's get back to the murals. (Aaaaaahhhhhh.) These photos are from the end of 2010, by the way:

There are more photos in Randy's post from January 3, 2008.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Too late, but not quite

I've been riding by Skrappys as long as it was in its current home on Toole. I've taken shots of the the building just across the street by moonlight. So how did I miss the building set a bit farther back off of Toole (farther off the southbound lanes of this tilted street)? I spotted the former Gloo Factory (Ink.), with an overgrown yard in front, at 106 E. Toole, on August 28, 2011:

The sign tells where I should look for more murals:

(If you get to 238 E. 26th Street first and find new mural(s), please let us know! Please add a comment below or send me a photo to share.)

Update (October 16, 2012): Here's the new location.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Skrappys again reinvents its front wall (again)

Before we get back to the archives, here's another recent mural photo. It’s the front wall of the Tucson Youth Collective, also known as Skrappys (with no apostrophe-s, as far as I can tell; it's not Skrappy’s), three weeks ago, September 17:

You can also check out another version of this same scene in October, 2010.

Whatever it’s called, the walls all around this building at 191 E. Toole are covered with fun murals. Stop by if you haven't before! (Or, for an armchair preview, look for 191-197 Toole in Layers of murals: histories of a few walls.)

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Not a mural, but...

...this tag was different enough that I thought it might make you smile. I spotted it as I rode across Arroyo Chico on Eastbourne Avenue three weeks ago — on the morning of September 15. (By the way, Eastbourne is a great biking alternative to Country Club just south of Broadway.)

READ TO YOUR KIDS. If this is gang graffiti, maybe it's a gang of librarians? :)

Monday, October 03, 2011

Pueblo Gardens Elementary

This mural is by the school's entrance at 2210 E. 33rd Street. I took the photo on January 16, 2011. (By the way, the plants around the mural are real.)

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Howard Rains' ride to Bisbee

Though this blog mostly shows murals in Tucson, there've been a few exceptions for exceptional murals. This one from Howard Rains is in that category. The garage (named Bisbee Bug & Auto Repair) has a clever mural that might take you a moment to spot. (Like always, you can click for a larger view.)

Thanks for all of your photos this past month or so, Howard!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Maybe a mural, part 20

I put these flying books in the "maybe a mural" category mostly because they aren't, well, flat. And, unfortunately, some of them are deteriorating; artist Simon Donovan mentioned (at a talk he gave downtown for TPAC) that they weren't sealed properly.

If you haven't seen them, why not stop by now? And, while you're there, go inside and grab a book of your own. These are on top of the south wall at Woods Memorial Library, 3455 North 1st. I took the photo on December 23, 2010.