Barrio Centro Neighborhood Mural Project

A neighborhood civic engagement mural celebrating the life, people, ecology and history of Barrio Centro in Tucson, Arizona.


Barrio Centro Community Mural 2011

"Where the many colors bleed into one..."

Barrio Centro Neighborhood Mural, 2011 © 2011, Tucson Arts Brigade, Images by Bob Torrez


Barrio Centro Mural Celebration!

More than 175 people joined The Barrio Centro Association and Tucson Arts Brigade to celebrate the unveiling of a mural reflecting memories of the neighborhood from Saturday, June 18, at Lucky Wishbone, 2721 E. 22nd St.

Watch a portion of the 176 foot long mural being unveiled!

The mural results from a year-long series of workshops to engage local youth in positive neighborhood beautification.
Rose and her sister with Tempest

Tucson Arts Brigade Board Member Melissa Black & German Quiroga Chairman of Barrio Centro

The celebration included an opening invocation by Tucson Arts Brigade Board Member Melissa Black. German Quiroga Chairman of Barrio Centro was our MC, and many spoke including Ruben Reyes, District Director Congressman Raul M. Grijalva- AZ7, Josh Jacobsen, Lucky Wishbone, Tucson Vice Mayor Richard Fimbres, Howenstine Magnet High School Art Teacher Tempest Alabi-Isama, State Representative Daniel Patterson, Students and others. Everyone spoke of the power of community murals to unite people, and bring neighborhood stories and voices to life.

This was followed by a great dance interpretation of the mural by the TAB Dance Troupe. (We will post a video once available.) The rest of the night we danced to the music of Trio Central, playing Latin Jazz and Serenata, playing Ranchera and Bolleros.

This fall the Tucson Arts Brigade and Barrio Centro Association continue their collaboration with plans for a new mural on 22nd Street!


Celebrate, Beautify and Unify Tucson! Barrio Centro Community Mural Unveiling

The Barrio Centro Association and Tucson Arts Brigade invite the entire community to celebrate the unveiling of the Barrio Centro Community Mural on Saturday, June 18th from 6:30 - 8:30 pm at Lucky Wishbone, 2712 E. 22nd Street. Join us for this free, fun-filled family event with food, music, speakers and performances.

Trio Centrál will be playing Latin Jazz and Serenata will be playing Ranchera and Bolleros.

The Barrio Centro Community Mural Project is sponsored by the Tucson Arts Brigade and is the latest release of the Tucson Mural Arts Program. This beautiful and colorful mural depicts the stories and memories of Barrio Centro neighbors that were gathered over the past year and a half.

Many scenes of neighborhood social life and history including music, baseball and the railroad are on a cement block wall that spans 176 feet long, and varies in height from 4 to 6 feet.

A mural planning and design team included Barrio Centro area residents, Howenstine Magnet High School students and their art teacher, Tempest Alabi-Isama, and Josh Jacobsen, owner of the Lucky Wishbone restaurant who worked with Michael Schwartz, Executive Director of the Tucson Arts Brigade and Lead Artist/Educator in a year-long series of workshops that included presentations, field trips and lessons on mural making and history.

“This mural reinforces our commonalities,” said German Quiroga, President of the Barrio Centro Association. The workshops included Elder Shares, meetings, and Community Paint Days which involved more than 100 neighborhood residents, and created a sense of pride, ownership, and a personal connection to the mural.

“Graffiti abatement has always been one of our goals and it is my belief that we as a community must engage our youth in worthwhile activities to steer them away from non-productive ones. Each life we touch makes our community a better place,” said Quiroga.

The Barrio Centro Community Mural Project has been a great way to engage local youth in a positive neighborhood beautification project that can be admired by all of Tucson.

This Project is part of a new Tucson Arts Brigade anti-tagging initiative entitled “Beautify and Unify” that offers arts based solutions to pressing community needs.

Funding for this project was provided by Tucson-Pima Arts Council (TPAC)/Kresge Arts in Tucson, Pro Neighborhoods, Union Pacific Foundation, Lucky Wishbone, Tucson Arts Brigade and Barrio Centro Association.

For more information, visit:


Economic Literacy and Community Murals

Economic Literacy isn’t the most exciting subject on the planet, and you might wonder what it has to do with community art. The bottom line is that either we learn to control our finances, or they will control us. Most of the work of Tucson Arts Brigade is in areas where poverty is a stress factor, and a barrier to comfortably developing one’s creative voice. For that reason we felt it important to incorporate economic literacy into our overall curriculum.

For this project we were fortunate enough (thanks to Kresge in Tucson/Tucson Pima Arts Council, Pro Neighborhoods, Union Pacific and members of the Tucson Arts Brigade) to be able to provide stipends for 13 youth. We broke the news to them late in the project to insure cash wasn’t an incentive, rather a reward for putting in well over 100 hours of community service.

In a moment of synchronicity Evelyn Madrid of the Bank of America had recently contacted TAB. We were able to arrange a training complete with gifts. It was a great training covering the basics of creating a basic budget, savings and checking accounts.

There are a variety of resources available for people seeing financial literacy training opportunities the Jump Start Coalition and the National Endowment for Financial Education and locally at Hughes Federal Credit Union and the Credit Wise Cats at the University of Arizona.

The youth in this project are extraordinary, and are really a beacon of hope. Part of that bright future means expanding financial learning and literacy opportunities.

More to come on the subject of economic literacy – even if it is just a tad bit boring.


Barrio Centro Mural gets more great press

Check out this fantastic new video about the Barrio Centro Neighborhood Mural Project created by Luis Carrion and aired on Arizona Public Media.


Community Paint Day!

Well over 75 people participated in the Barrio Centro Community Paint Day on Sat. April 2 marking a colorful start to our mural project.

Lunch time!

Paint Day was a huge success with food, music, and of course lots of paint. We were really happy to have been joined by so many neighbors and local leaders including Congressman Raul Grijalva.

Congressman Grijalva with Eddie and Angie Flores and friend.

A very busy day for our paint station experts!

We had live music all day thanks to Onofre!

Tempest cleaning brushes.

Barrio Centro Association President German Quiroga painting in Food Giant.

Mark Kerr from Ward 5 handing out certificates to youth artists.
(And he painted with us!!)

Check out our TV New Coverage: Click Here

Several news outlets covered paint day including the Arizona Daily Star, Channel 11 and 4!
You can also see a time lapse video of paint day created by Martin Linsenbigler.

Neighbors are painting every Tuesday and Friday from 3-5pm through the end of April, come join us!


Barrio Centro Association Approves Mural Design

On Thursday February 17 youth presented our final mural design to the Barrio Centro Neighborhood Association. There were several suggestions for minor changes, and students were asked questions about the content and process. The design was unanimously approved.

The following week we started the process of cleaning and priming the wall. After we measured out our grid we began to transfer our design to the wall using charcoal. Over the next few weeks we will be preparing for Community Paint Day. We are inviting residents of Barrio Centro to join us as we paint in the first layers of this 176 foot long mural. There will be a planning meeting for community paint day Thursday March 24, 7pm at the Potter House.

Community Paint Day will be Saturday April 2 from 10 am - 2pm at Lucky Wishbone 2712 E. 22nd Street. Please bring a hat water bottle and sun screen, we will provide the paint, directions and refreshments.