10 Best Art Galleries in Tucson for Buying Local Art
By Patricia Escarcega
Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tucson Local Expert
Tucson has a long history of attracting artists and dreamers. The awe-inspiring beauty of the desert and the city's rich cultural heritage all serve as inspiration for artists who have carved out a home in the city. It's no wonder, then, that Tucson also has a thriving art gallery scene that draws admirers and collectors from around the world.
One of our favorite Tucson art galleries is DeGrazia's Gallery in the Sun. Once the home and workshop of renown artist Ted DeGrazia, today the gallery is an architectural hand-made marvel that also doubles as a working gallery where visitors can pick up original art created by DeGrazia.
Over in Tucson's charming Lost Barrio district, the Davis Dominguez Gallery is one of the city's longest-running art galleries, featuring over square feet of fine modern art, with an emphasis on large paintings and sculptures.
Nestled comfortably in Tucson's historic downtown arts district, Raices Taller 222 Art Gallery and Workshop is a quintessentially Tucson art gallery that showcases some of the region's best Latino art.
Finally, if you are looking for local and regional southwestern art at all price points. check out Desert Artisans' Gallery, a local artistic collective that has been selling quality art since 1987.
10 Raices Taller 222 Art Gallery
Founded by Tucson artists Juan Enriquez and Jorge Arteaga, Raices Taller 222 Art Gallery & Workshop is a nonprofit cooperative art gallery and workshop located in Tucson's historic downtown arts district. Raices Taller, which is Spanish for "roots workshop," is both a gallery and workshop that sponsors activities and events with a focus on Tucson's Latino roots. The gallery and workshop regularly hosts community outreach events, film screenings, and art exhibitions. All art on display at Raices Taller is for sale. Cutting edge contemporary art is regularly exhibited at Raices Taller, making this a great place to pick up modern Latin-infused art. ((520) 881 5335)
9 Etherton Gallery
Founded in 1981, Etherton Gallery has carved out a space for itself in Tucson's growing art gallery scene with its focus on 19th, 20th century and contemporary fine art Photography. The gallery's inventory includes hard to find turn-of-the-century western American ethnographic and landscape photographs. In addition to fine art photography, you'll also find paintings, prints, sculpture, and mixed-media works by local and regional artists. One of Tucson's oldest art galleries, Etherton Gallery has earned "Best Gallery" designation by local Tucson publications. Exhibitions are presented year-round at both the Etherton Gallery and at the Temple Gallery, located at the Tucson's Temple of Music and Art. (520-624-7370)
8 Sacred Machine
Founded in May 2010, Sacred Machine is the self-described "museum and curiosity shop" for Tucson artist and musician Daniel Martin Diaz, and wife and co-founder Paula Catherine Valencia. This enigmatic art space and gallery is decorated with handmade chandeliers, painted skateboards and guitars, an antique grand piano, and a 15-Stop Harmonium from the early 1900's, ready made for impromptu musical performances. The gallery features unique paintings, and there is also a small gift shop on-site where you can pick up t-shirts, posters and books for sale. Over the years, Sacred Machine has become known for exhibiting the work of cutting edge work from artists around the world. (520-977-7102)
7 Philabaum Glass Gallery
Displaying the work of Tom Philabaum and a number of other contemporary artists, this gallery has a remarkable variety of items, from diminutive earrings to massive decorative pieces and wall hangings. The colors are stunning, the shapes are amazing, and there are price points for almost any budget. Philabaum Glass Gallery has been a staple of the local Tucson art scene for more than 30 years now. Many of the region's best known glass artists are on display at Philabaum Glass Gallery. If you time your visit just right, visitors are always welcome to watch in the studio while the glassblowers are working. (520-884-7404)
6 Old Town Artisans
You're sure to find some great gift ideas among the shopping areas in this 1850s adobe building. Each room offers unique items from specialty vendors, and regions around the world are represented, especially the southwestern US, Latin America and Mexico. Browse through a large collection of local and regional art, jewelry, Navajo rugs, clothing, ceramics and metalwork. Old Town Artisands is home to an eclectic range of art galleries, including the Old Town Pot Shop, La Zia, Dawn Steward couture jewelry, and Shelago's Artwerks USA. After shopping, sit in the shade of an ancient mesquite tree and sip a cool drink from the Southwestern cantina. (520-623-6024, 800-782-8072)
5 Desert Artisans' Gallery
A co-operative gallery featuring the work of about twenty Southwestern artists, Desert Artisans has earned a solid reputation over the years for the high quality of its art. Exhibits include contemporary paintings, sculpture, photography and jewelry. The gallery's strength is in the immense variety of art and artists. On any given visit, the gallery will have contemporary works in oil, pastels, acrylic, photography, jewelry, watercolor, ceramics, glass, jewelry, and textiles. More than 60 artists are represented here. The gallery offers many different price points in order to accommodate the budget of all fans. Come here for a unique art souvenir from your time spent in the desert. (520-722-4412)
4 Solar Culture
A non-profit art gallery / music venue, Solar Culture is the brainchild of artist Steven Eye and a group of compatriots. Many years experience in the art and music industries has given the group a keen appreciation and knowledge of the alternative music scene. Closely allied with Club Congress until 2003, the Solar Culture team books a diverse array of music (punk, alt country, folk, alt-rock, reggae). Tickets are sold the night of the event only, so plan to arrive early for big-name shows. Bring your own snacks and beverages. Solar Culture doesn't sell any. The 3000 square foot gallery is brimming with original art. There are usually over 100 local artists showing at the gallery, making this a great destination for seeking out original Tucson art. (520-884-0874)
3 Davis Dominguez Gallery
One of the linchpins of the Lost Barrio, the Davis Dominguez gallery is the largest in Tucson, and showcases the works of more than 30 amazingly talented regional artists. Within the walls of its 5400 square foot warehouse space, exhibits change every six weeks or so, with paintings and sculpture being the primary focus. The Davis Dominguez gallery was established in 1976 as a place to exhibit contemporary fine art. The gallery specializes in large modern paintings and sculptures. Although usually closed for the summer, the Davis Dominguez Gallery re-opens every September with a new season of original fine art. (520-629-9759, 866-629-9759)
2 Morning Star Traders
Morning Star Traders is one of the oldest and well-respected dealers of antique American Indian art and Spanish Colonial furniture in Tucson. Centrally located on Speedway Boulevard, Morning Star Traders carries a huge selection of antique, contemporary Southwestern jewelry, turquoise jewelry, American Indian pots, rugs & blankets, baskets and artwork. Morning Star Traders also carries one of the largest selections of Colonial Spanish furniture in the state. If you're a lover of authentic Southwestern, Mexican and Native American arts and crafts, furniture and artisanal goods, head straight to Morning Star Traders next time you're in Tucson. (520-881-2112)
1 DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun
Ted DeGrazia is a Tucson legend. His home and the surrounding buildings, originally built in open country in the foothills of the Catalinas, are now surrounded by the city. The gallery, his former home and workshop, along with the roofless chapel, were all built by hand from native materials. The "gallery" now serves as a museum to the famed artist. It also houses the gift shop and a small gallery dedicated to the religious festivals of the Yaqui Native Americans. The gallery maintains a permanent collection, along with rotating exhibits. Visitors can pick up original art in the gift shop. ((520) 299-9191)
About Patricia Escarcega
Patricia Escarcega has lived in the Arizona desert since she was a teenager. She works as a writer and editor in Phoenix with her four dogs and two cats. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona and is working on a novel about growing up in the 1990s.
Read more about Patricia Escarcega here.