Monday, February 26, 2018

Artists Call: Neighborhood Mural Festival April 13-15, 2018

Calling All Artists! Neighborhood Mural Festival April 13-15, 2018

DEADLINE: Monday April 2, Midnight

Artists (and groups) of all styles and experience levels are invited to work alongside Tucson Arts Brigade (TAB) and residents of the historic Sugarhill and Jefferson Park Neighborhoods to gather stories and transform them into  murals.

Join us for this festive annual celebration of murals, food, community, music and more!


Want to get involved? Here’s how to apply:

Learn about the neighborhood: See the next page for brief history of this area and check our blog for updates about upcoming neighborhood story sessions and online resources:

Themes: Neighborhood stories, culture, residents, and traditions including those of Tucson’s African American community

Submit your mural design and application DEADLINE: Monday April 2, Midnight
To be considered, you must submit the following to

1) Send 1 JPEG (maximum 5MB) of the preliminary sketch(es) of your mural design.

2) Write a short answer to the following questions:

-- Why are you interested in creating a mural in this neighborhood? What is your connection to or understanding of this area?
-- What knowledge, experience, skills, or strengths (artistic or otherwise) do you have that will help prepare you for this type of project? How can you  contribute?

3) Submit all Materials to:

Or By Surface Mail to: TAB/Mural Fest P.O.Box 545, Tucson, AZ 85702

Mural fest planning committee and neighbors review designs and offer feedback.

4) Attend the Neighborhood Story Circle:
Monday, March 26 at 6 PM - 8 PM 
Donna R Liggins Recreation Center, 2160 North 6th Ave. Tucson, AZ 85705

Details and What to Expect:
  • Artists submit final revised design for approval by early April 10.
  • Painting will happen Thursday April 12- Sun April 15, you will be assigned your wall upon check in.
  • Most walls are 8' x 10'
  • Neighbors and the public are invited to celebrate and interact with artists the weekend of April 14-15. Murals must be completed by 9pm Sun April 15.
  • Artists must cover their own costs and supplies, including travel and lodging though we will be fundraising to offset these costs as much as possible.
  • Murals will be on cement walls lining the Bronx Wash, which runs east-west along Linden   St.
  • There will also be several walls available in nearby Jefferson Park neighborhood,
  • You get a cleaned wall as your canvas plus storage, water, and basic supplies from the Paint Station
  • An artist’s Food & Hydration Station will be open throughout the Fest
  • If you need additional time, special equipment or support please make note of that in your application.
  • This is a grassroots effort and we will do our best to accommodate all  needs!

Background Information About the Area:

Sugarhill is the historic neighborhood which now encompasses the El Cortez Heights, Feldmans, and Northwest neighborhoods. The area was a home to many from Tucson’s African-American community and is an area with a diverse history and living culture.  Systematic housing discrimination, or redlining, meant this was one of the only areas where African Americans and other people of color were allowed to buy homes in Tucson until the passing of the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968.

The demographics of the area have shifted and changed over the years and we hope your murals will capture something about the past, present, and future of this diverse community.  To begin learning, try this 2005 article from the AZ Daily Star: “Life less sweet in Sugar Hill: Dorms and renters put a new face on diverse neighborhood”

Sample stories from Sugar Hill (provided by Armando Vargas)
Sugar Hill Water Tower
239 E Elm ST (construction about 1948) former home of the Turner family, Dr. Turner
DDS, hosted at his home the African American Jazz players/musicians and other African American entertainers in the 1950's and 1960's because these entertainers were not allow to stay in the hotel/motels along Miracle Mile Strip and Drachman where they were entertaining -- Tucson Inn, Executive Inn, Hilton, etc.  Carlton and Carl Bowdry, father and son, before they both passed away five or more years ago, shared with me numerous names of these entertainers.  One of the names I can remember was Dizzy Gillespie.  The late Dr. Turner's son, Joel V., is also a DDS.  The son's former office was on the SW corner of Grant/4th AV.  I do not know if the son has a new dental office location.  A few of the Sugar Hill residents confirmed verbally the Turner family hosted these entertainers.

433 E Elm (1955, red brick, 3-bdrm) was acquired recently by M.A. Goodman.  According to a nearby neighbor, Mr. R.E. Wilson sold his home to Goodman.  Both Mr. Wilson and his adult son are ill and needed money for health expenses.  Wilson called Goodman directly rather than list the house with a realtor.

Jefferson Park Neighborhood
More info about the history/culture of the nearby Jefferson Park Neighborhood, at one point the northern edge of Tucson can be found here:

Click here to read “Weaving Art into Grant Road” along Grant road “Culture, History, and Environment” assembled by the neighborhood. 

For questions or more information please contact:

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

TAB Seeking Mural Arts Program Assistant

PO BOX 545, TUCSON AZ 85702
 • •

Spring 2018 Tucson Mural Arts Program Administration Associate: 10-18 hours a week
Applications Due Feb  23, 2018

The Tucson Mural Arts Program (TMAP) seeks to create a city wide outdoor gallery of original artworks by matching artists with wall owners. TMAP is a results-based beautification program that involves residents of all ages in the design and painting of murals.

The Mural Arts Program Associate Position reports to the Executive Director and supports the executive leadership team in daily operations.

Mural Arts Program Assistant Responsibilities include:
  • Relocate equipment and supplies as needed.
  • Assist with mural wall preparation, such as grid lines, priming, grinding, sealing, etc.
  • Assist program Director with general tasks as needed.
  • Assist on community paint days and projects;
  • Assist in communications and outreach
  • Update calendar listings to local media, follow up calls;
  • Help conduct and format assessments, interviews and press clippings
  • Help Select and Prepare works for exhibition and reproduction.
  • Maintaining Databases, Contacting Artists as needed;
  • Assist in material inventory and distribution;
  • Assist on documentation;
The ideal candidate will have:
  • Ability to work in fast-paced environment and manage multiple tasks
  • Experience or interest in working within the field of community arts.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, a pleasant telephone manner and courteous and professional work style.
  • Capacity to execute tasks with accuracy, consistency and attention to detail.
  • Outstanding organizational/planning skills and the ability to work independently or as part of a team.
  • Ability to function professionally in an open studio environment.
  • A sense of humor and describe oneself as flexible and reliable.
  • Finger print clearance required for some tasks. (working with youth).
  • Valid driver’s license and clean driving record
How to Apply: Submit information by Feb 23, 2018 to:

Please include contact information, schedule, CV or resume, and a cover letter that answers:
1. What interests you in this opportunity?
2. Briefly describe your most relevant experiences and skills for this position.
3. What should we know about you and/or your background that might not be evident in your CV/resume?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Happy 2018 from Everyone at Tucson Arts Brigade!

We are delighted to announce our first mural of 2018, finished actually on January 1.

Teresa Diane Altamirano finished her first mural on the first day of 2018! She writes "My mural represents strength and beauty. I am excited to paint more murals in the future by myself and with the Tucson Arts Brigade 💜

 #TucsonArtsBrigade #TucsonMurals #TucsonMuralist #TucsonArtist #TucsonArt #Tucson #Art #Muralist #Lioness #Butterfly #MyArt

#2018TucsonArtsBrigadeMural 1! 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Adopt-A-Mural Program: Preserve Tucson Murals - Adopt-A-Mural! Help Maintain Your City Wide Outdoor Gallery

Did you hear the news?

Click this image to hear Tucson News Now Story

We know you love the Arts Brigade murals, and now we need your help in preserving these epic works of art. TAB has over 100 murals in it’s inventory. These murals are looking great, but over time the elements take their toll and we have to maintain the works by cleaning them, removing scuff marks and applying new protective top coats. As properties change ownership, and wall contracts expire we work to insure these works are preserved and maintained for all to enjoy. All this takes time and money.

To participate in the program fill out this simple form.
Please consider becoming a sustained supporter of TAB by making a monthly contribution. Contact us to find out more, and how you can help support this legacy. You can also follow the link and sign up for reoccurring donations.

To adopt-a-mural you can make monthly donations and specify this project, or make a single one time donation and ask your friends to match that amount.

For monthly sustained donations you do need to set up a Pay-pal account, or we can send out a monthly reminder if people prefer sending a check. These donations are of course tax deductible.

Just want to support the program directly? We have set up a special pay-pal so 100 percent of donations go directly to services! Just click here or the icon below.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Civil Rights Artwork Available for Exhibit

This unique collection of paintings were produced by Tucson Arts Brigade and the Tucson Volunteer Center for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Art Service. The artworks were part of a popular education project conducted each year for the community at large at the Community Arts Lab

Over a series of workshops participants researched and learned together about the civil rights era. The artworks were then installed as backdrops inside a real bus. Volunteer Center staff developed a walk through theater piece to teach children about freedom summer. The paintings were featured by local news stations on live television in 2003 and 2004. The Volunteer Center housed the paintings until the center closed. The paintings then ended up in storage and finally returned to TAB in 2015. 
These works are available as a collection for display and educational purposes. Please contact TAB to learn how you can exhibit these works.

We are seeking a permanent home for this collection. If you have ideas about where this collection could be best housed please contact TAB.

Tucson Arts Brigade

Black Lives Matter
By Valeria K Hutchings
Size: 104” x 89”
Acrylic on Canvas

Bus Backdrop Art
Lead artists: Michael Schwartz (TAB), Danielle Fink Volunteer Center

Andrew Young
Size: 41” x 29”
Acrylic on Canvas

Emma Baker
Size: 41” x 29”
Acrylic on Canvas

Harriet Tubman
Size: 41” x 29”
Acrylic on Canvas

Ida B Wells
Size: 41” x 29”
Acrylic on Canvas

Percy Lavon Julian
Size: 41” x 29”
Acrylic on Canvas

I Am A Man
Size: 37.5” x 25.5”
Acrylic on Canvas

Sing for Justice
Size: 36” x 51”
Acrylic on Canvas

Civil Rights March 1
Size: 37.5” x 25.5”

Acrylic on Canvas


Civil Rights March 2
Size: 37.5” x 25.5”
Acrylic on Canvas

Civil Rights March 3
Size: 26.5” x 128”
Acrylic on Canvas

Size: Shaped Canvas 49” x 80”
Acrylic on Canvas
 This work was created by youth for MLK Day of Service. The work was featured live on local news, who reported back throughout the newscast and interviewed participants as the mural progressed.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

New Spring 2017 Murals!

There are lots of new murals going up this spring, and more in the design and planning stages. As the times change, so is TAB’s Mural program. We are finding that many of our muralists feel strongly about a variety of civic issues. These inspiring stories need to be told.

Deportations, Racism, Standing Rock and Domestic Violence are a few of the subjects TAB artists are discussing. We are finding a massive groundswell of support deep within Tucson neighborhoods for this dialogue. As we talk about these ideas, and share our stories we are learning of even more issues, stories of valor and overcoming huge personal barriers, of coming to America, of pain, hope and recovery. By telling these stories we are coming together as a community to heal, to mend and beautify these places we live, work and play.

We invite you to join us in supporting this new era for TAB’s Mural program.

We have a number of new muralists preparing designs. Each of these small and mid sized mural projects cost between $1000 to $8000 to produce. These murals are completely funded by small and large donations from people like you who love murals. To make a tax deductible investment click here.

Emma Bayne “Rebirth” 2017

“My mural is about rebirth and creativity. It is a model of new life and holds personal significance in that I am starting on this new phase of life, growing older and going to college. I believe that life is circular and death only leads to new and beautiful life. In the mural the skulls represent the past and death, the butterfly of sacred rejuvenation and originality and the spiral of the cycle of rebirth. I chose the tiger swallowtail butterfly because it is my dad’s favorite animal, his symbol of sorts and my dad is the biggest inspiration and motivation in me pursuing art. I tied in the desert flora and fauna to represent Tucson’s amazing wildlife, and used bright colors to give the feel of fresh beginnings. I hope this mural evokes happiness and inspires to community to be thankful of life and to use their resources and time in creative ways. I love being able to give something back to the community which raised me by doing something I love to do.”

Sneha Srinivasan

Ever since I got to college, I dreamed of painting a mural. I thought it was a way to make a lasting impact on Tucson. So opportunity finally came up to paint one, I was ecstatic. To be able to share a message of hope with a community that I love is such a joy. In a present time so riddled with hate and turmoil, I wanted to see how art could spread a message of kindness, hope and love. And I know how cliche it all sounds, but I truly believe that over all the waves of trials and tribulations, as a population we can come together for just a second, no matter our race, gender or sexuality, and grow a brighter future.

Nikki Ortiz “La Paz”

Teresa Altamirano (Mural in Progress)
Mural in Progress
Mural Design
"I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. I went to college and took many fine art courses as well as digital art courses. I have an associates degree in Illustration. I draw, paint and have done a few sculptures in the past. I almost gave up being an artist a few years ago thinking I would get no where. But I realized that is stupid, because no one should give up what they do and who they are. This will be my first mural and I would be so happy to have my work displayed as part of my city. I hope to expand on this and do many more in the future.”

Friday, April 14, 2017

2017 Ajo Street Mural Gathering

Project Organizers in front of Miss Hazzards New Ajo Mural
From March 23rd to March 26th dozens of artists gathered in Ajo Arizona, the heart of the desert, to create over 50 beautiful murals in one weekend. Our feature artist this year was Harriet Wood aka Miss Hazzard from Barcelona who created a massive mural in homage to the desert.

Art's Brigade muralists Valeria Hutchings, Porter McDonald, Nikki Ortiz, Emma Bayne, Kat Anderson, Michael Schwartz and Harold Curtis were among the more than 30 mural teams painting. The 2017 organizing team included Caitlyn Allen, Morgana Wallace-Cooper, Kat Anderson, Michael Schwartz, Porter McDonald, Harriet Wood and Martina Dawley.

The Grange, prepared by Americorp Workers Before
Miss Hazard in action.
This coming together of artists, diverse in culture, disciplines and practice - started on the intersection of three nations, the United States, the Tohono O'odham Nation and Mexico. The Ajo Street mural project started in 2015 as artists from throughout southern Arizona created murals of all sizes in the center of Ajo, AZ. The following year (2016) Ajo youth and artists came to Tucson for a Community Build Day event. In 2017 Tucson artists returned to Ajo for our third year of collaborations and mural painting on a large grange.

The Grange before Harriet's mural....

Ajo is in the Sonoran Desert, tucked away in Western Pima County in Arizona, about 120 miles southwest of Phoenix and 130 miles west of Tucson. Ajo is landlocked with the Tohono O'odham Nation to the east, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument to the south, and the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and Goldwater Gunnery Range to the north and west. The Plaza, built in 1917, serves as a place of beauty and also the location of many community events such as the traditional 4th of July and Christmas Eve celebrations. The town has been economically depressed since the large open pit mine closed in the 80's following a strike for higher wages. When copper content levels fell, and as the mine grew in scale arsenic was used in the leeching process. The result was devastating. Today arsenic is found in the soil and water, illustrated by the number of rusting cars and equipment. This massive environmental challenge remains the elephant in the room.

Our youngest muralist, Silas Anderson (Kat's son :) has two murals now!
Kat Anderson's (Silas's mom:) 2 of her new 2017 Ajo Murals

"Juntos" by Niki Ortiz, Ajo, AZ 2017

Emma working on her Ajo Mural, 2017
 Valeria Hutching's new narrative Mural in Ajo
Harold Curtis's Ajo Mural
Michael Schwartz, "Arsenic" Ajo Mural
Porter McDonalds new Ajo Mural

"The project is a framework for larger national and international
Emma Bayne in Ajo
dialogue to promote socially engaged practice and community based arts. I believe street art enhances its own surroundings and provides an opportunity for public interaction and community conversation. This is not only an opportunity for renewal in connections within the community but a chance to forge and create stronger bonds between the town and its neighbors in Mexico." - Miss Hazzard
This little ancestor visited each mural, and muralist. 

Collaborating groups include Tucson Arts Brigade, ISDA, USDAC Border Arts Group, Neoglyphix
and ASAP (Ajo Street Art Project).
Muralists and assistants painting

More weekend highlights included New Orleans based Mondo Bizarro and Art Spot Productions who provided musical and theatrical performance. Saturday night included a community potluck and art exhibition opening, complete with delicious after dinner treats at Art Under the Arches Gallery. That exhibit continues through May 1.

Caitlyn tries her hand at graffiti art

These murals have now become a landmark and destination for the tiny town as tourists from throughout the world get to see and enjoy over 50 murals painted by artists.  All the more reason to plan a trip to Ajo Arizona and perhaps at the beautiful Sonoran Desert Retreat Center, enjoy the murals, quiet days, fine people, food and scenery.

Funding for this project was made possible by the Puffin Foundation without whom this initiative would not have been possible. Additional support was provided by the Arts Foundation of Southern Arizona and the Tucson Arts Brigade! Thank You!

Additional Writings about the Festival: 

Ajo Arts Weekend: Splashes of Spring Color in the Sonoran Desert