Art Experiences in Tucson, AZ

Christina Tierney


Creativity and a love for art are woven through our community here in the “Old Pueblo.”  As such, there is a vibrant art scene, including a variety of galleries, museums, murals and interactive art experiences found throughout Tucson. Whatever the time of year, there are new exhibits and opportunities to immerse yourself in one of these inspired settings. However, a day at the museum can be the perfect indoor activity during the summer months! 

A hallmark in Downtown Tucson is the Tucson Museum of Art. With an incredible permanent collection and interesting rotating exhibits, there is always something new to take in. Go at your leisure Thursday to Sunday 10am-5pm, visit during one of the special events like Second SundAZe’s, or attend an evening lecture. Don’t forget to peruse the museum store, which is full of interesting gifts, and enjoy a meal at Cafe A La C'Art. The setting is historic and lovely, plus some of the best desserts in town are found there!

A stones throw from Tucson Museum of Art, you will find Old Town Artisans which has a series of shops featuring work created by local artists. The space is anchored by a courtyard where visitors can dine and often find live music playing. This is a fun spot! Just across the street sits Romero House Ceramics where local work is displayed, but for those that would like a hands-on experience, various classes are available, including: hand building, throwing, tile making, sculpture, and open studio.

For photography lovers, the University of Arizona welcomes visitors at The Center for Creative Photography which displays rotating exhibitions and maintains over 100,000 fine art photographs as part of their permanent collection. The Center also partners with the Phoenix Art Museum to bring their visitors displays of world-renowned photography. Nearby in Downtown, the Etherton Gallery presents work from significant photographers past and present in a beautiful space.

Representing another art form, the Philabaum Glass Gallery showcases incredible works from artists throughout the country. The gallery’s founder, Tom Philabaum, is one of the most exciting contemporary glass artists of our day, with installations and exhibitions throughout the country. Tom also founded the Sonoran Glass School which offers classes for beginner and intermediate skill levels.

Tucked into the Catalina Foothills, DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun was designed by the late acclaimed artist, Ted DeGrazia.  Sitting on 10 acres, the site and adobe structure has an indigenous feel, creating a subtle, but thoughtful experience. Visitors can stroll the gallery, grounds, and outbuildings. Honoring another painter of the American Southwest, the Maynard Dixon Museum at Medicine Man Gallery is a private collection displayed for public enjoyment. The permanent exhibition includes oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, and poetry.

Each month the Wilde Meyer Gallery hosts a community art walk, which is a great opportunity to check out multiple galleries in one evening, and meet some new friends! Light refreshments are offered, and some events include live music.  Start with the art walk, then head to one of the many nearby restaurants for dinner, such as Vivace, Wild Garlic Grill, or North Italia to name a few.

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