Monday, January 13, 2020

2020 Some New Works

Happy 2020! "VOTE"
"with 3 clues"
"Mellow Yellow"
These are hand drawn, scanned then colored on a computer - intended for digital consumption.
I made a short video of another drawing, depicting a simple and delightful day, which you can see in the post below.

A Day in 2020: Jan 3, 2020

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Photo Essay of 2019 Downtown Mural Project

 Photographs by David Del Grande

The Downtown Mural Project has been a huge success. These murals have become destinations and landmarks, bringing thousands of viitors to our downtown.  The project was a partnership with the Tucson City Managers Office as part of a comprehensive economic development program. For the second round we received 44 applications.

Four new murals were installed in the Spring of 2019

Ignacio Garcia 
"Running of the Pinatas" 
31 N 6th Ave
Funded by: Tohono O'odham Nation, Visit Tucson and Rio Nuevo

Jessica Gonzales
"The Path Unpaved" 

35 W Alemeda St.
Funded by: Tohono O'odham Nation, Visit Tucson and Rio Nuevo

 Joe Pagac 

601 N Stone
Funded by: Tohono O'odham Nation, Visit Tucson and Rio Nuevo

Racheal Rios and Carlos Valenzuela 
"La Madre"
86 E Alameda St
Funded by: Sundance, Tucson Pastel Society

Thank You to our Partners at the Sundance Store!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Community Mural Forum Report Back

On Sunday May 19, from 1-5pm the Tucson Arts Brigade hosted a Community Mural Forum to discuss what a future citywide mural program could look like. Over 50 people from throughout Tucson participated in this lively discussion.

Clearly there is a desire to see a City Wide Mural Program to curate, steward and maintain a culturally equitable  Outdoor Gallery of Murals, and a robust employment program that Hires Artists to Work in School, Neighborhood,  Community Centers and Other Places. We want to see the arts as the central component of City of Tucson development policies, not merely decorative “garnish”. 

Tucson Arts Brigade was formed in 1996, creating over 100 murals and distributed over  $300,000 to artists working in schools, community centers, and other places. Demonstration  program such as the Downtown Mural Program29th Street , Barrio Centro, Miracle Manor,
Amphi Action Mural and others typify the programs we are seeking.

During the forum we asked our attendees these three questions:  
  1.    How has the mural program impacted the city? 
  2.    What worked well in the mural program, what can be improved?
  3.    Where will you take the mural movement from here? 
Their answers to these questions are written in this document, and included strong concerns  for marketing, fundraising, community outreach, and the common threads listed below.

A Mural Task Force was formed, and will begin meeting on a regular basis this Fall. (2019). All are welcome to join this group.

The Forum concluded with a Mural Tour of the recent works created Downtown, led by the artists themselves.

Common Threads:
  •     Neighborhoods History Murals
  •     Marketing and Publicity for Murals
  •     Programs and Workshops for Schools and Neighborhoods
  •     Artists Under 30 Fund
  •     Increased Community Involvement
  •     Free Wall
  •     Mentorships
  •     Funding for a City Wide Program
  •     Location Apps
  •     Mural Preservation and Maintenance
  •     Need to Reform Administrative Policy 7

City of Tucson Mural Program
Tucson Arts Brigade
City of Tucson Pilot Mural Arts Program

Question 1:  How has the mural program impacted the city?
  •         The works are iconic, they attract many visitors to the city.
  •         The works help local artists gain more recognition.
  •         Murals inspire other artists.
  •         Ignacio’s mural for example transformed the alley into an interesting and visitable
  •         place, so the murals can be used to better places and make places more inviting,
  •         changes the reputation of an area.
  •         Nobody knows of (mural) program: need to increase marketing for the program.
  •         Politics can exist within city art.
  •         Murals can depict local history.
  •         Used for storytelling.
    Question 2: What worked well in the mural program, what can be improved?

        “Arts” as a career seems possible to new generation.
        Emotional reactions to the art: Kids and adults show excitement and enthusiasm
        Ripple effect: Participants, artists, visitors
        Alley has been transformed
            Murals bring history and better reputation to neighborhoods
        Door to smaller artists is a bit more closed
        Smaller artists deserve exposure
        Diversity in funding sources
        Productivity occurs even when unpaid
        Private projects open to community participation
        Need more publicity
            Publicize through website map, add background information on the murals
            Art that already exists deserves more background information

 Question 3: Where will you take the mural movement from here? 

            Vandalism, insurance, knowing location apps
                Fund mural shield (protective UV top coat
                Create phone Apps to link artists to each other
            Great artists don’t get chosen, which is a shame because their art deserves to be seen
            Allow newer artists to be included
                Proposal workshop, percent of mural funding for novice artists
                A set amount of funding to novices
                Inclusion of more simple, less-skillful murals and professional works
            Public art is very limited, processed through known artists
            Artists should be able to pick their own locations
                Many don’t know their locations before creating design
        Marketing, make these art movements more promoted
        How does this specific group aid these other programs?
            Collaboration between mural programs?
        Add mural lights, draw more attention to murals
        The problem with the Phili methods: we’re not motivated by the same events
            But we are motivated by the border issue, and kids incarcerated, and neighborhoods
        Relying on the city and government to find or approve isn’t always necessary
        VARA-some are protected some are not
        Recognize that young people can create high quality art
            Set aside funding for all artists under 30
        Importance of Outreach
            High schools
            Disadvantaged communities
            At risk youth
            Get community involved in creation of murals
            Create map of city murals
        Role in educating community about history
            Site specific so it speaks to location of art
       Don’t want commercialization
    Where will you take the mural movement from here?
        Parachute cloth
            The Phili Method: teach artists (over 3-10 years) how to paint on “parachute cloth”
             - while this costs twice as much as a normal mural, and requires specialized training.
             You can create murals in places such as prisons and hospitals, where you normally
            cannot paint murals.
        Designating neighborhoods as mural dense areas
        Bring murals and mural arts education to schools
        In combination with beautification efforts (ex, collaborating with Tucson Clean and
        Beautiful, Living Streets Alliance, and others)

i.) Bringing art to disadvantaged communities 

        Establish a free wall for public art like an outdoor studio that can be used by all
            Desigsated space for painting with no approval necessary
        Collaboration within communities
        Mentorships for younger muralists
        Create mural plaques, generate more publicity on the web.
        Maintenance- use the new product “mural shield” to protect the murals from harmful
        UV rays over an extended period, or restore old murals.
        Improving mural maps
        New murals at places like the airport.

        Photographing murals for any publications.
        Create mural workshops; publicize annual mural arts training.
        Site specific designs that relate to local histories.
        Diversity of “type” of murals (ex. abstract, representational, narrative, political, etc.)
        Publicity- ex. articles in “Visit Tucson” & real estate magazines.
        Identify funding for murals for underserved neighborhoods.
        Advertise the cause of work behind and purpose of murals.
        Involve youth high school and youth detention centers; use it help others in more ways.
        Update QR codes to give information on artists, art, bio and cause
        (see TAB QR code murals).
        Involve history and culture in imagery.
        Use murals to give a sense of history to our southwest, architecture, specific events.
        An invitation to get neighborhoods to make their own art, more community involvement
        (with the artists they want).
        Get them (Visit Tucson) to advertise our artists outside of Tucson, to promote tourism.
        Using the Renaissance to reinvigorate old arguments for the arts (for example,
        the argument between line and form).
        Clear instructions on how to apply to be a muralist in Tucson.
        Workshops on how to propose, present and show their work for nervous artists that
        lack experience.
        Getting school and neighborhood groups to create their own programs - teaching them
        how to plan, procure, and create their own murals.

Additional Notes Ideas

    A designated space for art that does not require city or business approval- giving artists freedom and flexibility (free wall concept)
    Provide artists site details prior to designing the mural
 Promoting a personal, historical, or cultural piece
    Focus on mentoring youth, disadvantaged and segregated
     populations; ways to get their artistic voices amplified.
    Make the process simpler for busy people.
    Understand the ripple effect and its power to enact change.
    Bring murals, muralists, and the process to schools.
    Bringing the programs that lacked interest and
    participation back now that the community is
    coming back to life (take advantage of an upswing of interest in the arts).
    How can we brand our project? How do we integrate mural programs in the city of Tucson
    Not bury or be buried, but co-facilities our work to be seen a whole. Community by the public
    (but without letting them take our donations/funding).
        Information on restoring art and murals, maybe a public fund
    “Find a wall and make it happen = individual efforts are powerful as well.
        Ripple effect: seeing artists in action inspires people;
        Murals change a space: ex: Pinatas Running Mural transformed an alley that was dark
        into something vibrant.

    Community Aspect

Bringing murals that invite everyone, not just one artist. (“Hey can I paint there” “yes you can paint here” : type of mindset)
Share artists’ names more prominently.
Designating Neighborhood:
        Sprucing up areas during renovation efforts.
        History and political murals: so much more these murals can do.
 Brainstorm more ideas for fundraising.
    How do we maintain murals?
        Mural Shield.
        Restoring murals, repainting murals.
        VARA (Visual Artists’ Rights Act: some artists waive their rights).
    Bringing back mural program like in high schools that have fallen off the map.
    Tradition of doing this work: let’s bring it back.
    Issue of marketing. Better marketing efforts.
    Murals overall vs. mural program.
    How do we collaborate around town to benefit our community as a whole?
    Create a mural district?
    Connect all artists  - how do we do this?
    Important to support local artists.
    Mountain Ave- using this for history (murals) could be a place for field trips
        Using homes in neighborhoods.
    It’s hot here so people like to walk at night, lighting certain murals can allow them to view
    murals at night.
    Issues of Funding: promoting arts as something our community really values to receive grants.
    More Social Issues depicted in murals.
    More High School Involvement.
    Looking for opportunities to paint murals on the bike paths (Tucson Bike Loop).
    More services to Disadvantaged Communities.
    Web And Mural Map: include background information and data (about each mural)
    Smartphone App to find murals.
    Role of murals in education: History for example: Santa Rita Orchestra, History of
    Amphi Schools, Santa Rita, collaboration with schools, arts groups, private sector to
    create mentorships.
  Try to avoid commercialization, be aware of placement.
    Neighborhood Murals= Community Building.

New Ideas:

  • Free Walls - city doesn’t have to approve, private walls, soap box.
  • Learn more about Public Art Approval process (Policy 7)

Notes assembled and edited by Alyssa Magilaro and Emma Knapp

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Community Mural Forum Sunday May 19

Free and Open to the Public

You are cordially invited to participate in a Community Mural Forum Sunday May 19 from 2-4pm at the Downtown Library, located at 101 N. Stone Ave. Tucson AZ 85701.

Your voice is a critical part of this conversation, as we reflect on the Mural Program and it’s future.

Since 1996 the Tucson Arts Brigade mural program has been hiring artists to work in schools, neighborhoods and community centers while creating a city wide outdoor gallery. Our goal was to lift the tide for all artists, providing publicity and opportunity. Our downtown murals have become destinations and landmarks, bringing thousands of people to our downtown.

This discussion will include brief presentations from this years downtown muralists;

Ignacio Garcia, Jessica Gonzales, Rachel Rios, Carlos Valenzuela and  Joe Pagac with opening comments from program manager Michael Schwartz.

We will then go into smaller groups so everyone has time to share their thoughts:

How has the mural program impacted the city ?
What worked well in the mural program, what can be improved ?
Where do you think we should go form here ?

2pm            Opening & Welcome
2:10 - 2:30  Presentations from Muralists
2:30 - 3pm  Small Groups
3pm - 3:30  Small Groups Present to Large Group
3:30 - 3:55  Large Group Discussion
4pm            Closing
4:30            Group Walking Mural Tour

Monday, September 10, 2018

Fall 2018 Round: Downtown Murals Call for to Arizona Artists/ Programa de Murales – Convocatoria a Artista

 DUE Midnight FRIDAY September 28, 2018

Mural Program RFP – Call to Artists
For more information: email:

The City of Tucson is accepting proposals from artists interested in creating murals in downtown Tucson. The City of Tucson Mural Program is providing funding for murals that reflect diversity in style and culture. The program will encourage artists from diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply and offer their ideas and designs for these murals. This program is aimed at enriching the greater downtown Tucson experience for residents and visitors alike.

Program Goals

The goals of this program are to:
  • Beautify public areas in downtown which attract heavy pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
  • Use art as a landmark to connect residents and visitors to public and private areas downtown;
  • Prevent tagging and vandalism;
  • Select dedicated and qualified artists that can demonstrate artistic excellence while completing this program on time and within budget.
About the Program
  • Up to three murals by three individual artist or team of collaborative artists will be selected.
  • Mural sizes are listed in Appendix A. Artists do not choose sites.
  • The selection committee is open to all unifying themes.
  • The artist is responsible for surface preparation which may include power washing the surface, removing chipping paint, priming the wall etc.
  • The mural will serve as a visual landmark and should be distinctive through use of design, color, etc. Only original art will be considered.
  • The design will be suitable and acceptable for public viewing of all ages.
  • Design must be scalable.
  • Only Arizona artists will be considered.
  • The program budget includes the artist(s) fee, paints, sundries (brushes).
  • The artist agrees to apply top coat provided by the program.
  • Program will provide Wall preparation, and some sundries such as rollers, naps, tape. 
  • The program budget does not cover travel, lodging or meal costs. Artists are encouraged to tap into existing professional and personal networks to keep costs reasonable.
  • Artists may bring their own brushes, rollers and other special equipment required to produce the mural.
  • Surface preparation may include power washing the surface, removing chipping paint, priming the wall, etc.
  • The medium to be used must be durable and able to withstand minor wear and tear and harsh outdoor elements for at least five years.
  • Artists must agree to use Nova Color Artists’ Acrylic exterior thinners, paints and clear topcoats as manufactured by Nova Color or approved equivalent. All pigments shall have a lightfastness rating of I as per ASTM D5098. Application methods shall be as per manufacturer’s installation directions to ensure the maximum possible lifespan of the mural.
  • Murals must be completed by November 30, 2018
Artists can submit for more than one mural, but each mural must have its own proposal.

Proposals – Submit to:
Artists interested in creating a work of art through this funding opportunity must submit the following by midnight September 28, 2018 to be considered.
  1. A one-page narrative concept for the mural, including supplemental information such as medium and approximate dimensions of the proposed mural.  The narrative should convey the artistic content, colors, style of work, etc. Also include:
    1. Wall preparation plan
    2. Mural protection/ maintenance plan
    3. Timetable (murals must be completed by November 30, 2018)
  2. 11 X17 detailed design of the proposed mural. Please include mural concepts in PDF or JPEG formats
  3. Itemized budget outlining all costs associated with mural production (artist(s) fee, wall preparation, paints, sundries and top coat)
  4. 1-2 page Resume with Contact information
  5. Five – eight (5-8) examples of past murals Submit as PDF or JPEG
  6. One page Image list including size, materials, costs and location of works.
All proposal components must be submitted in a digital format. Submit as PDF, JPEG or Word Docs.

Wall Details: (dimensions are approximate, more walls may be added)
Wall 1: 20’ x 92’
Wall 2: 18’ x 30’
Wall 3: 32’ x 45’

Selection Criteria
Ability to install mural in a timely manner
Aesthetic Quality of previous work
Aesthetic Quality of Proposal
Arizona Resident

Additional Selection Considerations

Public Safety
Proposal does not present any public safety hazards.  

Artistic Merit
Proposed artwork is aesthetically pleasing and appropriate for the public realm.
Artist’s past work demonstrates proficiency in the proposed medium.
Artist has exhibited in the public or private realm and participated in team and/or community-based art programs.

Site Suitability
Artwork is suitable for the site based on size, scale, and form.
Proposal considers the variety of audiences at the site.
Proposal considers the social, historical, architectural, geographical and/or cultural context of the site.

Artwork Durability
Artwork will be made of durable materials to withstand outdoor weather conditions.
Artwork is carefully planned ensuring sound fabrication and installation.

Project Timeline
Sept 7, 2018                 Artist Call Issued
Sept 16, 2018               Mural Design Application Clinic, 1-3pm Pima County Public Main Library   101 N Stone Ave.
Sept 28, 2018               Applications Due for Artists Proposal and Concept Designs
Oct 8, 2018                  Finalists Selected (Panel Meets Session 1)
Oct 19, 2018                Artists Finalists: Site Specific Mural Design Due      
November 1, 2018       Mural Painting Starts
November 30, 2018      All Murals Complete           

 DUE Midnight FRIDAY September 28, 2018

Need Help With your Application? 
Mural Design Application Clinic, 
Sept 16, 2018, 1-3pm 
Pima County Public Main Library   101 N Stone Ave.

For more information, questions or assistance contact:
Tucson Mural Program: Michael Schwartz  email:



PLAZO: Medianoche 28 de septiembre de 2018

Licitación - Programa de Murales – Convocatoria a Artistas
Para obtener más información: correo electrónico

La Ciudad de Tucson está aceptando propuestas de artistas interesados en crear murales en el centro de Tucson. El Programa de Arte Mural de la Ciudad de Tucson está ofreciendo fondos para murales que reflejan la diversidad existente en los estilos y en las culturas. El programa servirá para animar a artistas con distintos antecedentes y experiencias a participar y ofrecer sus ideas y diseños para estos murales. El programa tiene la finalidad de enriquecer la experiencia de residentes y visitantes que recorren el área general del centro de Tucson.

Objetivos del Programa
  • Los objetivos de este programa incluyen:
  • Embellecer áreas públicas en el centro de la ciudad que atraen mucho tráfico peatonal y vehicular.
  • Utilizar el las obras de arte como hitos para conectar a residentes y visitantes con las áreas públicas y privadas localizadas en el centro.
  • Prevenir el vandalismo y “tagging” (grafiti utilizado para demarcar territorios de pandillas).
  • Elegir a artistas dedicados y cualificados que demuestran excelencia artística al mismo tiempo que completan este programa dentro del plazo y presupuesto señalados.

Sobre el Programa

  • Se elegirán hasta tres murales propuestos por artistas individuales o equipos de artistas colaboradores.
  • Los tamaños de los murales aparecen detallados en el Anexo A. Los artistas no tendrán la opción de seleccionar los sitios.
  • El comité de selección está dispuesto a considerar cualquier tema unificador.
  • El artista se hará responsable por la preparación de la superficie que podrá incluir el lavado a presión de la superficie, eliminación de desportilladuras de pintura, aplicación de pintura base a la superficie, etc.
  • El mural servirá como hito visual y debe tener un aspecto distintivo basado en el diseño, color, etc. Se le dará consideración únicamente a diseños artísticos originales.
  • El diseño debe ser apropiado y aceptable para públicos de todas las edades.
  • El diseño debe ser escalable.
  • Se le dará consideración únicamente a artistas del estado de Arizona.
  • El presupuesto del programa incluye los honorarios, pinturas, utensilios y materiales para el artista o equipo de artistas.
  • El artista acuerda aplicar la capa superior de acabado proporcionada por el programa.
  • El programa proporcionará utensilios y materiales para la preparación de la pared, como rodillos de felpa, cinta adhesiva, etc.
  • El presupuesto del programa no cubre gastos de viaje, alojamiento, o viáticos. Se anima a los artistas a aprovechar sus redes profesionales y personales para mantener los costos a un nivel razonable.
  • Los artistas podrán traer sus propias brochas, rodillos, y demás equipo especializado requerido para producir el mural.
  • La preparación de la superficie podrá incluir el lavado a presión de la superficie, eliminación de desportilladuras de pintura, aplicación de pintura base a la superficie, etc.
  • El medio que se utilizará deberá contar con durabilidad y resistencia suficientes como para tolerar condiciones mínimas de desgaste que resulten de la exposición a los elementos externos durante por lo menos cinco años.
  • Los artistas deben acordar utilizar disolventes, pinturas, y capas superiores de acabado transparente acrílicos manufacturados por la marca Nova Color, o algún equivalente aprobado. Todos los pigmentos deberán contar con una calificación de resistencia a la luz de nivel I, de conformidad con la norma ASTM D5098. Los métodos de aplicación utilizados deberán cumplir con las direcciones de instalación de la empresa manufacturera para asegurar la máxima vida útil posible para el mural.
  • Los murales deberán completarse a más tardar para el día 30 de noviembre de 2018.
  • Los artistas podrán presentar más de una propuesta para mural, pero cada mural deberá tener su propia propuesta.
Propuestas – Deberán enviarse a:

Para ser considerados, los artistas interesados en crear una obra de arte por medio de esta oportunidad de financiamiento deben presentar, a más tardar para la Medianoche del 28 de septiembre de 2018, los artículos que se enumeran a continuación:

  1. Un concepto narrativo para el mural, incluyendo información suplementaria como el medio y las dimensiones aproximadas para el mural propuesto. La narrativa debe comunicar el contenido artístico, colores, estilo de trabajo, etc. Asimismo, debe incluir:
    1. Plan de preparación para el muro (pared)
    2. Plan de protección y mantenimiento del muro
    3. Cronograma (los murales deben completarse para el día 30 de noviembre de 2018)
  2. Diseño detallado del mural propuesto de 11 X 17 pulgadas. Favor de incluir los conceptos del mural en formato PDF o JPEG
  3. Presupuesto desglosado esbozando todos los costos asociados con la producción del mural (honorarios de artista(s), preparación del muro, pinturas, utensilios y materiales, y capa superior de acabado)
  4. Hoja de vida de 1 a 2 páginas con Información de Contacto
  5. Cinco a ocho (5-8) ejemplos de murales producidos anteriormente en formato PDF o JPEG
  6. Lista de imágenes de una página que incluye el tamaño, materiales, costos, y ubicación de las obras
PLAZO: Medianoche 28 de septiembre de 2018

Todos los componentes propuestos deben presentarse en formato digital, utilizando documentos en formato PDF, JPEG, y Word.

Criterios de Selección
  • Habilidad para instalar el mural dentro del plazo señalado
  • Calidad estética de las obras anteriores
  • Calidad estética de la propuesta
  • Residente de Arizona
Consideraciones Adicionales para la Selección

Seguridad Pública
  • La propuesta no presenta ningún riesgo o peligro para la seguridad pública.

Mérito Artístico
  • La obra propuesta es estéticamente agradable y apropiada para el ámbito público.
  • El trabajo anterior del artista demuestra competencia en el medio propuesto.
  • El artista ha exhibido en los ámbitos públicos o privados, y ha participado en programas o equipos de arte comunitario.

Aptitud del Sitio

  • La obra es apta para el sitio en base al tamaño, escala, y la forma.
  • La propuesta toma en consideración la diversidad de auditorios que podrán visitar el sitio.
  • La propuesta toma en consideración los contextos sociales, históricos, arquitectónicos, geográficos y/o culturales del sitio.

Durabilidad de la Obra Artística
  • La obra se producirá con materiales durables para resistir las condiciones climáticas externas.
  • La obra se planificará detenidamente con la finalidad de asegurar que su producción e instalación es confiable.

Cronograma del Proyecto

7 de septiembre de 2018        Publicación de Convocatoria de Artistas
*28 de septiembre de 2018    Plazo para Recibir Propuestas de Artistas y Diseños de Concepto
8 de octubre de 2018        Selección de Finalistas (Panel se Reúne en la 1ra Sesión)
19 de octubre de 2018        Artistas Finalistas: Plazo para Presentar su Diseño del Mural para el Sitio Específico
1ro de noviembre de 2018    Inicio de la Obra del Mural
30 de noviembre de 2018        Plazo para Completar Todos los Murales

Para información, preguntas, o asistencia favor de comunicarse con:
Michael Schwartz – correo electrónico: