Sunday, March 20, 2011

Get here early or late...

...because these murals are painted on the steel shutters that cover the windows when Sparks Cycle Supply (3409 E. Grant) is closed:

Other stores with murals like these include Netto's Auto Clinic and Hippie Gypsy.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Arizona Auto Connection

This half-hidden mural is on a wall behind the lot at Arizona Auto Connection, 401 E. Grant.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Beautiful Bronx Wash

As you drive around Tucson, you'll see plenty of washes — with a sign that has the name of the wash (and often — FYI to Tucson visitors — two-way streets on both sides of the wash... there's more info on Tucson traffic quirks on my Tucson page). Most of the washes aren't much to look at, otherwise — and definitely not "beautiful."

One exception is the Bronx Wash mural along Linden just west of 4th Avenue:

At the right side of that second mural is a map of the neighborhood.

Update (April 29, 2015): I just came across an October 2009 article about the painting project on the National Service blog.

Update (December 19, 2016): The west (right) end of the mural has a new part; you can see it in today's entry Bronx Wash mural revisited, part 1 of 3. Two entries after it show the new part being painted and detailed photos of the whole long mural.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Murals on the Marley Building

Inside and outside the Marley Building (1145 E 4th St.) on the U of A campus, are seven tile murals installed by Aurore Chabot in 1997. They're called Cellular Synchronicity. The shot on the right looks up the east side of the building — which houses agriculture and entymology, among others. The artist took objects that researchers were working on and she cast them into tile. You can see a closeup of part of another mural on the post Before Columbus.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

22nd and the world

At the corner of 22nd and Longfellow (3975 E. 22nd) is Learning Bee Preschool & Daycare. The photo above shows the map of the world on the north side, along Longfellow. The photo to the right is along 22nd, on the southwest corner of the wall around their property — including some traffic-control stuff that was in front of the mural when I snapped the photo last month.
Update (August 1, 2016): Today's blog entry shows some other murals before and after these two.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Right at home on Wilmot

Here's an early-morning view of Home Style Galleries, 1010 S. Wilmot (at Beverly) — and someone out for a walk.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Happy 60th, Bob

Bookmans founder Bob Oldfather (here's his official story from the Bookmans website) has kept new murals on the wall of their flagship store, Grant at Campbell, for years. When I drove in this evening, I saw that Bob is celebrating his 60th birthday (and also, as I found on the website, his store's 35th). This mural on the store's east wall is signed (520)312-7076 Rock Martinez / Tommy Chambers / Art Terrain 2011.

Happy 60th, Bob!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Where is this mural?

If you enjoy Tucson's murals from the comfort of your home (or office, or wherever you see this blog), you can just read and scroll down. Once you see a mural you'd like to enjoy in person, though, you need to be able to find it. When I snap a mural photo, I jot down information that I hope will help you. Since most murals are on buildings, I can give the address — or so I believed until after I snapped this photo of a wall of the former El Rapido restaurant downtown:

When I shot this, I was on West Washington Street — no question. The numbers to the right of the door say 77. So, the mural is at 77 W. Washington, right? That's what I thought until I typed that address into Google Maps... and it put the location pointer a block east of the actual spot. I searched for El Rapido and people quoted that same address: 77. What to do?

Luckily, I could ask Melo King for advice. (She created the mural maps that you really should check out if you haven't already.) The bottom line is that the address of a piece of land can change — especially if the streets are close together, so the parcel could "be on" one of several streets. Pima County has online GIS (Geographic Information System) to help you find a current address — and an amazing amount of other information. (See and click on "Main MapGuide Map".)

There doesn't seem to be a 77 West Washington Street anymore. I can tell you that the mural is on the north side of Washington in the middle of the block between Meyer and Court. To get a more precise location, I opened a satellite view of the area from Google Maps, clicked on the front of the building, and chose "What's here?" from the pop-up menu. It says the mural (actually, a spot a few feet north) is at latitude 32.224539 and longitude -110.974388. Here's that view.

What we do for art! :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

In case you blinked...

...along I-10 at the Miracle Mile exit, here are the three tile murals you would have seen on each side of the freeway. They're all signed Mackender 1994 / Tile by Artistic Tile, but I thought they were added during the recent freeway widening project? Anyway, they're worth a closer look. (To zoom in on a photo, click on it. Come back with your browser's "back" button.)

First, the three murals on the westbound side, from south to north:

Next, the eastbound side, from north to south:

Those are lamps and desert plants at the edges of most photos.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A classier carport

Dress up your carport with a mural — like this one at 6142 E. 14th:

(By the way, we only show murals that are visible to the public. You can see this as you walk by on the street. If, say, this mural had been inside a garage, we wouldn't show it.)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Five horses on Speedway

Speedway (at least a lot of it in central Tucson) isn't a great place to be on a bicycle. I tried it early one morning last summer — as the sun was rising and before traffic got bad — to find murals I hadn't seen. (That's a lot easier to do at 10 or 15 miles an hour than at 35 or 40.) For some reason (maybe because my bicycle is an Iron Horse brand — great bike, by the way), all of the murals I spotted fit that theme. (Well, sort of. :)

The first was at Red Garter, 3143 E. Speedway:

At the other end of my ride along Speedway were two horses in a desert scene at Bookstore Southwest Adult Shop, 5754 E. Speedway (click to zoom in):

The last two horses (actually made of iron — or steel), were at Sir Veza's Taco Garage, on the corner with Swan:

P.S. I just noticed that Warren V. sent a photo of the Red Garter horse — more than two years ago — in Randy's post Horsin' Around at the Saloon. With more than 300 murals online here, this is another good reason for Melo's mural map... to help us prevent duplicate photos. In the meantime, thanks to Warren and Melo!

Update (September 22, 2020): I've posted closer photos of the wraparound mural on Bookstore Southwest. And Sir Veza's Taco Garage is gone.

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

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):