© 2016, Jessica Gonzalez, Photo by Kristin Tovar. Tucson, Arizona

Art Out in Public

By: Arizona Office of Tourism

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October 28, 2016

See Tucson's eight colorful new murals.

About the author

Arizona Office of Tourism

These articles are brought to you by staff of the Arizona Office of Tourism, as well as local tourism organizations around the state.

This past summer, Tucson received the wonderful addition of eight new murals in the downtown area. The murals were chosen from more than 60 submissions from local artists with the hope of enriching the area with murals that reflect diversity in style and culture. This collaborative project between several organizations, funded by various grants and donors and designed by multiple artists, draws attention to the collaborative and creative community in Tucson.

Blank walls spur the imagination and possibility of what could be, and with these blank walls no longer blank, the hope is that tagging will decrease in these areas. But more than simply deterring such behavior, this program has provided an opportunity for the community to express itself in a fresh, bold way.

Each mural is unique in subject matter, showcasing different aspects of Tucson’s history and culture. They all, however, point to a spirit of cooperation and collaboration that shows the power of locals coming together to celebrate a multicultural community.

Agave Lady

Situated at an entry point to downtown, Rock Martinez’s Agave Lady welcomes those in her presence to experience the colorful, resilient and wild side of the desert. The desert is wild, yes, but Tucson is not just a traditional desert city. The Old Pueblo brings a new definition to the term wild in its diversity, grit, heart, sense of humor and bold, unapologetic sense of self.

Many of the murals give a nod to the interesting Sonoran landscape and wildlife seen in the Southwest, as well as shed light on the beautiful fabric that makes up the culture of residents who call this place home.


Niki Glen’s mural Interconnectivity touches on the idea of connections in nature and people. It points to the synergy of the city as a whole, and it is wildly exciting to behold this time in Tucson’s history.

Explore Downtown Tucson

With the new murals as your guide on your next trip downtown, you will see they add another layer of complexity and interest to the landscape of the city. Instead of simply a network of restaurants, coffee shops, and bars, now there’s also a collection of art woven throughout these already familiar places. Working in conjunction with one another, these networks create a sense of vibrancy in the heart of the city that will not easily fade, even as things rotate and change among them.

Not all growth in a city is as visible as something like the addition of these murals. Some of them have transformed alleys into destinations that people are eager to visit. Others provide commuters a moment to stop in their day and be inspired. Judging from the buzz and positive reception these murals have already received, it is only a matter of time before more expressions of creativity flow out into the streets of Tucson.

Whether you plan to see them or you stumble upon them, you will be pleasantly surprised with the way they display Tucson’s personality in unexpected places. Walking through the city on foot will give you a new appreciation for the diversity and new life growing in Tucson’s urban core. You will be rewarded with glimpses into the creative minds of the city and discover the value of a community expressing themselves publicly, for all to see.

Contact Visit Tucson at (800) 638-8350 or see visittucson.org.

(Brought to you by Visit Tucson, (800) 638-8350, www.visittucson.org.)

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