A Celebration of Community, mural art, and Poetry in Tucson

May 23, 2024 | Artist Spotlight, Arts Foundation News, Arts News, Events, Featured, News, Public Art

By Abby Christensen

If you have noticed that Speedway has felt a little brighter between Park and Campbell in the last few months, that’s because it is!

Over the past year the Arts Foundation has had the opportunity to support Allison Miller of Alley Cat Murals and a stellar team of artists that she assembled to create six new vibrant murals on this main thoroughfare. With a mural on each of the walls overlooking the three pedestrian and bike path underpasses on the University of Arizona Campus, this project known as the Speedway Corridor Mural Project, activated the community and these previously underutilized industrial canvases.

I connected with Allison in late 2022 to learn about her project idea, which had been percolating for years. Over the next year, she hosted her own community call to artists and created a panel of invested community representatives from the surrounding mural locations. I was able to join and observe as the panel reviewed the artist’s applications and selected a team to complete the project. The additional five muralists were Monique Laraway of Revolta Art, Sasha Lewis, Jodie Lewers-Chertudi, Jenna Tomasello and Alex Fass. Such amazing group of artists with such a wide range of style, techniques, and content choices created a beautiful collection of murals in dialogue with one another throughout the corridor.

One of the significant partnerships that the artists developed through this project was with the U of A Poetry Center. Each artist had a poem that inspired their designs, and many worked directly with the poets. This cross disciplinary collaboration led to incredible results as the artists interpreted the poetry into their own unique designs.

You can learn more about the Poetry Center’s involvement here.

The walls are in the City of Tucson Right of Way, which requires oversight and review from many City departments. While that might sound intimidating, the Arts Foundation has a system in place to facilitate projects that are developed by the community with the intention of being installed in public spaces owned by the City called the Public Art Donations process. If you have an idea or plan to create a piece of public artwork in a City of Tucson space, you can find more information about the process here!

Check out some pics of the Mural Tour and Ice Cream Social hosted by the UA Poetry Center to celebrate the Speedway Corridor Murals project!

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