Thursday, February 10, 2011

Murals with heart(s)

When you're shopping at Rancho Center, in the 3300 block of East Speedway, cross the street to check out these four mosaic murals in the center island. Artist Linda Haworth built them with community youth in 1993.

(To zoom in on a photo, click on it. Return with your browser's "back" button.)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Luke's Italian Beef on Alvernon

The restaurant, at 1615 S. Alvernon, has this little outdoor seating area on the north edge of its parking lot.

Update (July 2, 2015): The mural has been changed.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Three hundredth is Fourth

Depending on your frame of mind — and maybe where you live — "4th Avenue" means different parts of Tucson. There's the primarily-residential street north of downtown. Between downtown and the university comes the chunk full of fun shopping and eclectic eating. Another stretch of homes fills Fourth south of downtown. Then, south of 22nd Street, Fourth morphs into a string of businesses and (mostly) Mexican-style restaurants as it crosses through the city of South Tucson. (Past there, I'm not sure... but I'm planning to head far south to check that mural scene.)

For this 300th post — almost five years after Randy started blogging about Tucson murals — here's the latest I've found along Fourth: north, central, and south. (I also have lots more to post from South Tucson!)

In a neighborhood on the north, the home at 1248 N. 4th has wraparound murals — mostly on Mabel Street. The first view below is from the east end along Mabel, and the second is from the west:

Head south across Speedway and pass Catalina Park... and you'll be on the university/downtown section of 4th. I'm surprised that I never snapped these next two murals. They're on the northeast corner of Epic Cafe, 745 N. 4th. (As always, you can click on any photo for a larger view... and use your browser's "Back" button to come back.)

Across the street, on the northwest corner of Trinity Presbyterian Church (400 E. University), are two mosaic murals:
(There's a third mural on the east side.)

Update (November 16, 2012): There's also a mural on the north side.

At the north end of the Magpies Pizza patio is a storefront that looks as if had another business in it sometime recently. If you know what it was, please tell me.Farther down 4th, The Fathead Shop has opened a new establishment next door called Mr. Head's Gallery & Bar.

Sacred Art and Piercing Studios, 315 N. 4th, is one of the businesses that keeps mural-hunters busy. Back in August, we showed two of their murals. Here's the same wall a few days ago (January 22)... the mural is signed Rock Martinez & Ruben Moreno:

On a window of Food Conspiracy Co-op, 412 N. 4th, is the best-hidden mural on the street... this little gem over the shopping carts, a sort of self-reflection:

Let's finish this trip down Fourth Avenue in the section near South Tucson. At the corner with 22nd Street, La Buena Cocina (248 E. 22nd) was closed for renovation when I stopped by yesterday afternoon. I hope this mural will still be there when they reopen. (Check out the "shelf" at the bottom. It's painted onto the flat wall, but — in this photo, at least — it looks like a piece of wood.)

Thanks for coming along on this lengthy tour of one of Tucson's best mural streets. As I said, there'll be lots more to come from farther down Fourth, and the rest of South Tucson, in the next hundred posts (and the ones after those).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

These murals aren't trash

Murals can change ordinary public places into art... and that includes dumpsters. Here are two examples I spotted at the end of July. The first was at Martha Cooper library, 1377 N. Catalina Avenue...

...and the second, at 4215 E. Fairmount Street:

Update (April 29, 2015): I just ran across an article about the dumpster art in the Arizona Daily Star: Midtown area creates 'dumpster art' to beautify streets, deter graffitists effort to discourage graffiti taggers,

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunny scene at street's end

At the southern end of the central part of Tucson Boulevard (the part that runs between the Rillito and Aviation Highway) is this little tile mural:

It's tucked in a corner between the home at 1521 S. Tucson and the dead-end street. Behind the mural is the wall that separates Aviation Bikeway/Highway from the neighborhood.

Update (February 1, 2016): There's a bench under a tree just up the street… a nice spot to sit and relax. Click there to see it on the Tucson's Pocket Parks blog.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tucson murals by theme

We're almost at the 300th post on this murals blog, and Melo King's murals map has many more murals that I haven't had time (yet) to post on this blog. Her latest mural map lets you choose murals by theme:

We're still working on the mural maps, so that link may not work forever. The next one should, though:

Please send comments and suggestions to Melo at

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Is this worth being in a gang?

Out on my bike today in South Tucson, I spotted this series of murals in the alley between 30th and 31st Streets, just east of 3rd Avenue. It's on the back (north) side of Capilla de Guadalupe. Here's a satellite view from Google Maps.

The photos run from east to west along the alley; the first photo shows the whole series, and the others show individual parts. The original murals have been partly trashed by taggers — including the part that gave me the title for this blog entry. The only date I found was '94, though the tombstones are all dated in the early 1990s.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

El Mezon del Cobre

This mural covers the north wall of El Mezon del Cobre restaurant, 2960 North First. I took the photo in July.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Flash mural?

These look to me like paper or cloth pasted onto the railroad crossing over Stone Avenue, just north of downtown. I'd guess that Graffiti Protective Coatings or some other group will be out here to remove it soon. Or could it be for real?

I snapped the photo yesterday afternoon.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Half Hidden on Country Club

Some streets in Tucson have more murals than others. (Some streets — in downtown and in the city of South Tucson, for instance — have half a dozen murals on a block.)

One of the "other" streets is Country Club. So far I've only spotted four murals along its entire central section — from near the Rillito on the north to the railroad tracks in the south. I've posted two of those so far. Here's the third. It's actually a pair of murals, partly hidden on two sides of the Tucson Alliance for Autism building, 1002 North Country Club (the corner of East 2nd Street):

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Luis Mena's Columbus and America

This long mural of Christopher Columbus is at MATZ Truck Accessories, 4535 S. 12th Avenue. Across the ocean from Columbus and his ships are Native Americans. It's worth a closer look! (If you can't see it in person, remember that you can click on any photo in this blog for a larger view. Use your browser's "back" button to return.)

There's more about Mena and his murals in the August 14, 2007 Tucson Citizen article Buildings are his canvases.

A classic car by Luis Mena

Muralist Luis Mena has painted plenty of murals around town, including a big one downtown next to the Hotel Arizona. A simpler mural of his is on a wall at Desert Suds Car Wash, on the southwest corner of S. 12th & Ohio:

(Update, March 24, 2011: There's another car wash mural at Watch while you wash.)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Maybe a mural, part 12

I'd call this a tag, not a mural. It was on a vacant building, the former UA Plumbers & Steam Fitters Local No. 741 at 2475 E. Water, on December 8... and it was gone the next time I rode by, a few days later.

Of course, what's graffiti to one person might be art to another. I thought of this as I read a couple of recent newspaper articles about tagging in Tucson. (Here's the one from Tucson Weekly.) What if someone reports a piece of "urban art" as graffiti? I'd guess the company that cleans Tucson walls, Graffiti Protective Coatings, has experience with that.

Maybe a mural, part 11

There are a couple of low brick walls with tile along Seneca Street. This one is just east of Palo Verde:

You'll find another one farther along the street at the corner of Seneca & Chrysler.

Maybe a mural, part 10

The front of Ramon M Wrought Iron, 307 E. Grant, is covered with painted wrought iron.

Maybe a mural, part 9

From time to time I see art on a wall that you might or might not call a mural. (The previous post was July 19.)

What do you think about this wall and mailbox at 4364 E. 4th Street?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mural map!

With nearly 300 murals on this blog — and hundreds more to be added — browsing through the blog's posts (almost five years' worth!) is fun. But it isn't a very easy way to find murals in a particular part of town.

I've mentioned the table of murals several times. It helps me keep track of which murals had been posted and when. But it's gotten big, as well. What we really needed was a map with all of the murals pinpointed. This fall, Melodi King took on that project for her mapping class at Pima Community College. (It was her idea, by the way.) She's has put a tremendous amount of work into the project, and it's finally ready to announce... just in time for your holiday mural-hunting.

The map comes in two sizes: small (for your phone or a netbook computer) and large. From the map, you can click on any of the mural locations. A pop-up window will appear with a photo of the mural, details about it, and a link you can click to read the blog entry about it. There's also a page of suggestions for using the map.

Though her class is over, Melo and I will keep working on the map design. The map software is being developed, and it sometimes doesn't work quite the way you might expect. The design of the map pages is also very basic at this point. Please send your comments!

To go to the map pages and the table of murals, click on "Map and table of Tucson murals" under "Favorite links" in the right column of this blog.

Good fences make good neighbors...

...and good mural fences are better. (In this case, it's a wall.) Here's the neighbor-pleasing view at the front of 4664 E. 5th, which is just west of Swan:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Underwater on First Avenue

Just as the Rillito (usually) doesn't have water, this new store just south of River Road doesn't (really) have any either. But the murals could fool you. The store is Planet Scuba at 4837 N. 1st:

I've driven by a few times; there are always cars in the parking lot, blocking part of the view. Luckily, though, I've met the artist, Alexandria Winslow. She sent me close-up photos, including these:

Her website,, shows more of her art.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

¡Mariscos Chihuahua!

On April 15, 2008, Warren V. sent our first photo of these local restaurants which are as famous — well, maybe — for their murals as for their Mexican-style seafood. (Mural lovers pronounce the name mar-ees-cose chi-wah-wah — with the emphasis on ah, for the huge murals on most of their buildings.)

Warren's photo was of 999 N. Swan. In the past couple of months, I've snapped photos of the other Tucson locations:

356 E. Grant, on a cloudy October day... check out the bench with a big shell backdrop.
Part of the south wall at 1009 N Grande
2902 E 22nd, at dusk, with the west side illuminated
At 435 W Irvington, the walls are all white — except for this door. I wonder if there used to be more?

Update (July 30, 2011) I replaced the photo of the Grande store with a better one. (You can still see the original photo if you'd like to.)

Update (July 23, 2015): The 22nd Street location has a new sign next to the mural.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

May in December

It's hard to keep up with all of the murals around Tucson! Tonight and tomorrow (mid-December!) I'll finally post the last of my photos from May.

Here's the Fathead Shop at 513 N. Fourth Avenue:

Thursday, December 09, 2010

(Solar) Culture changes (again)

Some murals change; others stay the same. One that keeps changing is in front of Solar Culture Gallery at 31 E. Toole. We posted a photo from May, 2009 in Culture changes. Here's the view on November 23, 2010.

Monday, December 06, 2010

A cut above

When I opened my copy of the Arizona Daily Star on November 27th, the front-page photo of a mural caught my eye. The headline underneath was Icon of hope has faded, but barber brings it back.

Three years ago, Erik S. emailed Randy photos of the mural as it was before — on the west side of what was then Menlo Park Video. Now the building is a barber shop named Money Cutz, and the mural is freshly painted. The article quoted Eddie Urias telling the story of growing up in his neighborhood, Menlo Park, how the mural was a bright spot between two liquor stores at that corner: Grande and Congress. This year, as the shop owner, he wanted to restore the image of the Virgen de Guadalupe. What a great story!

I mentioned the article to Melo King. She told me that she'd caught a photo of the mural as it was being repainted, on October 21 of this year:

Fast-forward to this afternoon, December 6, when I drove by to see the mural. The shop was closed, so I got this view without any cars:

If you're on the west side of town, if you're passing by on Interstate 10, or if you're downtown (just on the other side of I-10) — well, or wherever you are — stop by to see this beacon of hope in the neighborhood. And if you need a barber, come inside to meet the owner and thank him for what he's done — definitely a cut above.

Update (August 7, 2011): Here's a photo of the back side of the store.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Adios para siempre...

...though it will live on with collectors — and in all of our memories. Come to the despedida on December 19 for David Tineo's mural at the Tucson Museum of Art. It will be removed next month. (Randy's post about it in 2006 was "You Could Spend Hours...") Here's the announcement and photo from the museum's e-news:

Farewell to an Icon
Sunday, December 19, 3:00 - 5:00 pm

Join us for Mexican hot chocolate and pastries as we bid a fond farewell to the mural Nuestro futuro/Nuestras raices humana and honor artist David Tineo's contribution to this iconic work of art. The mural will be de-installed in January.

Bring your mementos and memories to this despedida and share your stories about the mural with the artist. Filmmaker Angela Soto will be documenting the event and de-installation of the mural.

Nuestro futuro/Nuestras raices humana, by David Tineo. Photo by Carter AllenPhoto by Carter Allen

There are more details, and mural history, on the museum's press release (a PDF file). Here are parts of it:

Unveiled in 1992 as part of CARA Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation, a temporary exhibition celebrating the Chicano art movement that traveled nationally, the mural was created by applying paint directly to untreated plywood. Originally intended as a short term installation, the long term exposure to Tucson’s weather has made it unstable and a public safety risk. “The mural was commissioned by the Museum and made with the intention of having it on display for a few months,” says Ann Seirferle-Valencia, Curator of Latin American Art, “although we have tried to stabilize it over the years, the plywood has warped to the point that it is separating from the frame. It is with David Tineo’s blessing, and in the best interest of the art and safety of our visitors, that we have decided to take it down.”

“It has fulfilled its purpose more than I could have expected,” says David Tineo, “It’s a piece of history and has been embedded in many hearts. I see this as a transition from public display back into the community.” The mural will be cut into sections and framed by Galeria Mistica, Tineo’s gallery representative and the home of much of his work. Once framed, the sections will be offered for sale to benefit the students at the Museum School for the Visual Arts. “The most important thing to me is that it benefit the kids at the school,” states Tineo.

I'll hope to see you there on the 19th.

(Update: Several Arizona Daily Star articles say that Antonio Pazos worked on the mural too. There's more information in the East Valley Tribune story Tucson mural, artist battle ravages of time.)