Aimee Smith, Author at PHOENIX magazine

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One of the things I like most about mural hunting is that it takes me off my beaten path and introduces me to neighborhoods and buildings that I might not have noticed otherwise. It gives me license to explore alleyways, to walk around all sides of a building, to wander down unknown streets in search of beauty. Case in point, I was recently searching for El Mac’s Southwest Goddess. I knew it was somewhere on...

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Tucson’s murals loom large, with many spanning several stories and stretching across entire sides of buildings. Here are a few can’t-miss favorites to look for while exploring Downtown Tucson. Joe Pagac This epic mural sprawls across 4,000 square feet at 534 North Stone Avenue. It shows a cowboy and a woman riding bicycles into blue skies. The woman’s dress billows behind her, morphing into a sunset backdrop for a trio of animal buddies, also riding...

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Driving along Grand Avenue in Downtown Phoenix, it becomes obvious that you have entered an arts district. There are numerous galleries, a print shop (yes those still exist, thank you Hazel & Violet) and colorful creations hanging from the trees. Most eye-catching, though, are the murals of all different sizes, styles and colors. Here are just a few of the many murals to take in. The young man in a cowboy hat painted by El Mac...

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Black Lives Matter posters prominently adorn the windows of Hotel Congress in Tucson, side by side with posters promoting mask wearing, an image quintessentially 2020. On the side of Hotel Congress is a mural by Camila Ibarra that perfectly encapsulates the two messages. A masked-up Black woman exudes power, clenched fists of solidarity rising above her. Ibarra is a student at Arizona State University. She has been selling prints and t-shirts of her artwork to...

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As I spotted the building on the corner of 15th Avenue and Polk Street, I slowed the car and craned my neck in wonderment. Then I promptly did a U-turn, parked, and hopped out of the car with phone in hand like a giddy tourist. The building is covered with murals, consisting of varying styles and colors, ranging from vibrant to grayscale. Flora + Fauna by Eric Cox and Tara Sharpe This striking mural uses...

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Street artists are painting their signs of protest throughout Phoenix, using their medium to amplify the call for change. Love Fights Back by @lovefightsbackaz Love Fights Back is a newly formed collaborative of artists, inspired by recent events to come together to champion equality. Their mural is located near Van Buren Street and Fifteenth Avenue. It is most easily viewed from the Dollar General parking lot. The words of their mural, Love Fights Back, pop...

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Protest can take many forms. Valley muralists are showing that art is one of them. Six muralists came together to create a Black Lives Matter wall in downtown Phoenix. Each artist covered a segment of the wall using their own individual style. The wall is located on Third Street, just south of McKinley Street. Just Dixon The grayscale portion closest to the street was done by Giovannie “Just” Dixon. He is currently based in Denver,...

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Want to observe art from the comfort and safety of your car? Drive by these larger-than-life murals in the Downtown Phoenix area. El Oso Plateado and the Machine by Nevercrew An extinct Mexican grizzly (the silver bear from the title) floats on the side of the Novel Coworking Heard Building, located on Central Avenue, just north of CityScape. The front and back of the bear seem to be holographs projected from the machines depicted at...

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While art museums and galleries may be temporarily closed, you can still get your art fix on Roosevelt Row by exploring the vast amount of street art on view. These days, pedestrians are few and far between, so you’ll be able to safely explore murals like these while responsibly social distancing.   Not Another Bird Mural in Phoenix by Kayla Newnam As you head east on Roosevelt, you won’t be able to miss Kayla Newnam’s...

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