Tucson's Colorful Art Scene: Murals, Music + More

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Tucson has been long recognized as a ‘mecca for the arts,' and its uniquely rich art scene is evident in everything from the many galleries, music halls and studios here, to the hundreds of vibrant street murals that dot buildings across the city. Host Paula talks art with international muralist and local Rock Martinez about the history of graffiti, the importance of immigration, growing up in Tucson, and much more!

But first, coffee. Rock and Paula meet up at Mercado San Agustín in the Menlo Park neighborhood. In the Mercado, visitors should indulge in some pan dulces -- Spanish for ‘pastries’ -- at the La Estrella Bakery!

  • Rock’s tour starts off with a viewing of his mural Mayahuel, the Goddess of Agave. The massive painting is part of a larger collection, Cactus People. Head to the Benjamin Supply building on North 7th Avenue for a peek.
  • A Dream of Sunday Afternoon In Menlo Park, is on the side of a residence in the same district as the Mercado San Agustín. In the video, Rock explains the inspiration behind this piece, which is derivative of the famous Diego Rivera fresco in Mexico City.
  • Tucson’s south side is dear to Rock, since he grew up in this colorful part of town. He shows viewers his first Mayahuel painting, located at Cost Less Auto Parts on South 6th Avenue. (Fun fact: This piece was featured in a Honda commercial.) 
  • The final painting of the tour takes Paula to Mister Head’s Art Bar and Gallery, on North 4th Avenue. Rock’s Golden Goddess pictured in the garden fresco is just one of many reasons to stop in and see owner Micah Blatt. (Travel Tip: Check out the glass blowing studio in the back, too!)

Another passion of Rock’s is live music (specifically, he’s a fan local musician Tom Wallbanks and band The Jivin Scientists), and he recommends heading to one of the many local music performance venues, including some of his favorites: The Flycatcher, Hotel Congress, The Rialto Theater, and Che’s Lounge. In fact, Tucson continues to grow and nurture a strong independent music scene, and visitors may also be interested in attending the annual Tucson Film and Music Festival.  

Filed Under: concerts, music, tours

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