Art Meets Geography

Tucson has always shown a great commitment to its local art and culture scene. Without mentioning the great art museums we have, you can experience spectacular art with a simple trek around town! We have loads of wonderful, stunning murals and public art covering the city. This year, the City of Tucson’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Division set out to make finding these gems a bit easier with a Mural Map.

Planning to head downtown? See what murals are near you or plan the most scenic route! Check out the Mural map for yourself at TucsonAZ.gov/muralmap/

For help developing the map, the City sought the services of a University of Arizona Ph.D. candidate in the School of Geography and Development, Laura Sharp. Her geography experience and her skill presenting data in a visually pleasing and engaging manner made her ideal for this project, said her supervisor, Peter Johnson. This mural map project became one of her first projects during her year-long internship.

The Mural Map is currently available online. They have started with 20 murals around town, including where they are, a photo, the artist’s name, and some background information; going directly to the source and working with the artist for this information when possible. The goal is to add more murals to this database as time goes on.

Story maps like these help pair the world we see with deeper information on landmarks and interesting features. While the mural map has its start, Sharp has been working to create other story maps with Tucson GIS, like one detailing the benefits of the half-cent sales tax from Proposition 101. These help to easily tell the story of Tucson and our rich traditions.

More than just a beautiful thing to look at, the City of Tucson totes the benefits of murals as a way to prevent graffiti tagging, give local artists a canvas to express themselves, and strengthen the culture of our city. The City backed Mural Project is responsible for eight murals downtown, four of which are currently on the mural map.

Better yet, keep an eye out for even more murals popping up! The City of Tucson’s Mural Program completed a Call to Artists on September 28th. Their goal is to select ten lucky entrants and add their paintings to Tucson’s portfolio.


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