Sunday, May 26, 2013

Amphi Action Mural Project: Part 1

            The Amphi neighborhood has the second highest amount of criminal damage violations such as graffiti and the highest amount of juvenile violations, narcotic violations, motor vehicle thefts, and offenses against families and children. Domestic violence, gangs, tagging, and drugs are all substantial issues surrounding this neighborhood and the children growing up in it. Mostly, this is a challenge for the teens and younger children who can easily be influenced from peer pressure both in and outside of school and home. Unfortunately, many of these teens end up going to a juvenile detention center that usually results in dropping out of school without getting a GED. Each child that becomes a victim to this lifestyle is a tremendous loss for the neighborhood and the Tucson Arts Brigade is taking action to reverse this growing trend.

            The Tucson Arts Brigade’s (TAB) has been invited to help this neighborhood by creating a mural at the Woods Library, which is in the heart of the neighborhood. This library is located at 3455 N. First Ave. Tucson, AZ 85719. The surrounding streets of the Amphi neighborhood range between First Avenue, Fort Lowell Road, Oracle Road and Roger Road. This is a vast area in the Tucson community. Cultural development projects such as these are none in the Amphi neighborhood. There are abandoned properties, junked cars and unkempt yards and homes making living environments quite hazardous, especially for young children. Many of the streets are very desolate with many dirt lots, no paved sidewalks, and walls surrounding homes and businesses are filled with graffiti. The TAB wishes to have the children and teens participate in this mural to help them get involved and help build healthy, safe, compassionate and vibrant neighborhoods, increase literacy, reducing violence and beautify the places they live and work.

            A group of 25 youth ages 9-21 are being be led through an 12-week course. Students are tasked with the complete process of designing, creating and installing a work of public art. The students are learning about the history of murals, the emerging and exciting field of community cultural development as well as the fundamental elements of art and principles of design. TAB teaches the students about the project first and what they intend to accomplish both for the mural itself and what it is meant to represent in the community. All of these kids are incredibly creative and have minds that are always open to discover something new. TAB likes to try to use those characteristics to have the students do something positive in their lives. Symbols of hope, love and strength are instilled in each unique mural TAB paints.

Painting on the Amphi Action mural started in May, 2013
            These murals change the lives of the students that participate in the projects and to the rest of the people living in the neighborhood. The Tucson Arts Brigade hopes that everyone feels a sense of ownership to and pride in this mural and that it becomes a destination and source of inspiration for years to come. We are looking for your support to help this plan can become a reality in the very near future. Any little donation can help make a difference in a young student’s life!

Community partner organizations include; Amphi Neighborhood Association, Pima County Public Library, Amphi Community Action Group, Good Neighbor Ventures, United Way, C-Corp Mentoring Program and Trees for Tucson.

Thank you TPAC PLACE IV on behalf of the Open Society Institute for support of the Amphi Action Mural Project and this after school program for youth ages 8 - 21 
This project meets Thursdays 5:30- 7, Feb 21 – May 30 at Woods Library 3455 N First Ave., Tucson, AZ 
To enroll or for more information about this and other programs email

Friday, May 17, 2013


  “Art Under the Stars” is a Tucson Arts Brigade (TAB) fundraising event to honor and celebrate TAB’s highest donors, brightest star students, and stellar arts education programs on Tuesday, June 18th, 5-10pm, at La Cocina in Old Town Artisans, 201 N. Court Avenue.  Enjoy food, cash bar, entertainment, raffles, and participate in the silent auction of TAB's Traveling Arts Show featuring over 40 professional and emerging artists.  Pre-sale tickets are $20 and $25 at the door.

This event features classical music by Palladio String Quartet, Afro-Cuban by Baba Kosan & Friends, folk funk and cosmic Americana by Stuart Oliver & The Desert Angels, bluegrass by The Greg Morton Band, pop punk rock by The HypnoGogs, and other local musicians.  The Traveling Art Show Silent Auction features local “Shooting Star” professional artists including Mary Theresa Dietz,Victor Navarro, and Robert Renfrow to “Rising Star” emerging artists, as well as students from Art Awakenings, a program of PSA Behavioral Health Agency.  Jodi Netzer, performing artist and TAB’s Director of Outreach & Marketing as well as the Director of The Water Festival, will be the MC.  In addition to bidding on the wide diversity of art from the silent auction, patrons can purchase raffle tickets and contribute cash, checks or credit card donations.  The highest donor of the evening will receive a special gift.

The “Art Under the Stars” fundraising event is an opportunity to learn about TAB’s programs and successes while investing money into arts education and how we re-envision our neighborhoods. Tucson Arts Brigade runs a lean organization with 90% of donations going directly towards programs and services rather than administration.  Your contributions make a huge impact.

The amazing story of Tucson Arts Brigade began in 1996. Since then TAB has offered community arts programs that deal with the issues many schools and neighborhoods have identified. Tucson Arts Brigade specializes in “arts intervention” and “community cultural development” – using creative means to enhance quality of life issues. Problems such as tagging, bullying, low test scores and neighborhood revitalization are TAB’s primary targets. The organization’s services and highly effective programs are in great demand, having over 90 project requests during the last two years.  TAB is still in need of major funding to fulfill all of these project requests. “Art Under the Stars” is an opportunity to learn about Tucson Arts Brigade’s mission, its staff, and to meet the needs of community.

83.4% of the youth in Tucson Arts Brigade’s program are low income or below the poverty line and many are at risk of becoming homeless.  Youth in TAB’s programs come from throughout Tucson, but a majority of them live in the neighborhoods that have requested our services, including Amphi, Miracle Manor, Barrio Centro, Midvale, Julia Keen, Meyers, Alvernon Heights, Roberts, Naylor and Corbett.
100% of the older youth (16 – 22) who went through Tucson Arts Brigade programs were prepared and have entered the workforce and/or higher education.

Tucson Arts Brigade programs include: The Mural Arts Program as part of TAB’s “Beautify and Unify” campaign, the Dance Theater Program offering workshops and performances involving both professional artists and beginners, and the Teaching Artist Lecture Series featuring established artists who present their art.  TAB’s environmental component emphasizes the use of sustainable design practices, water stewardship, and creative solutions through The Water Festival.

TAB’s programs teach the elements of art, principles of design, art history in relation to worldly contexts, and workforce preparedness – decision-making skills, team building, financial literacy, and building self-confidence while learning how to interview and speak in public, prepare portfolios, and connect with opportunities and services to reach their goals.  


Juan was 15 years old when he joined Tucson Arts Brigade’s program in 2010. His mother had called worried that he would keep getting into trouble. He was on probation for tagging and other small crimes. TAB provided guidance and transformed his allusive habits into a creative outlet of community-engaged mural-making and defining his life and career goals, which were to find a stable place to live, get his G.E.D. and find a job. TAB helped Juan develop his creative sensibilities and accomplish all three goals, as well as identifying scholarship money to attend higher education in the arts.

“TAB really opened my eyes to getting things done. I used to be lazy, it's like having a job, having something on your schedule to do.  It impacted me to keep moving - perseverance right? My story's changed a lot because I used to be not really caring and just doing what everyone else was doing. I was on probation, TAB helped me a lot with that and getting my community service hours in and staying concentrated on something. Without TAB I would probably be at my friend's house or Juvi or Rondstat Center or I dunno, I wouldn't have a straight head on though, probably more scars though.” ~Juan

TAB’s Director, Teaching Artist, and Muralist Michael B. Schwartz says, “We know that virtually everyone wants to support arts education in our schools and communities and that everyone loves and support what we do. Currently TAB is able to respond to only a fraction of requests. Now we are coming to you to say ‘Let's respond to all of the needs.’”

For more information about Tucson Arts Brigade and their list of services, and to reserve tickets to “Art Under the Stars”, go to or call 520-623-2119.

TUCSON ARTS BRIGADE (TAB) is a 501(c)(3) service-based community arts and education organization, specializing in building cultural capital, offering creative intergenerational and cross-cultural opportunities for civic engagement. TAB facilitates dialogue and employs arts-based solutions to complex community issues, including tagging, bullying, crime, health, empowering youth & elders, beautification, and community development.