Murals painted throughout the Valley through the years remind viewers of the role creativity plays in making and sustaining thriving communities. Taken together, metro Phoenix murals provide a glimpse into the array of styles, themes, and imagery you'll find on the local arts scene. Whether you're a local or a visitor, these are 35 of the Valley's many murals you should explore.
3812 South Central Avenue
Lucinda Hinojos (a.k.a. La Morena) painted this mural in south Phoenix to call attention to policies surrounding immigrants brought to America as young children, whose plight is tied to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policies. The mural includes a bright pink wall of butterflies anchored by a girl releasing a dove she finds trapped in a cage.
2517 North Central Avenue
A Los Angeles-based artist with Arizona roots, MDMN was one of several artists who participated in Paint PHX 2016, when he created this 100-foot piece reflecting his sci-fi, futuristic-yet-retro vibe. It’s located on the north-facing wall at Fast Signs, on Central Avenue south of Thomas Road. Look for his work at several other spots around town, including a multi-artist collaboration at Carly’s Bistro.
1612 North 16th Street
Several artists who work together under the name Graffaholeks Crew painted a giant portrait of a woman wearing rose-colored sunglasses, flanked by bold designs. It’s located on the south side of the Mia’s Flowers at the intersection of 16th Street and McDowell Road.
Between Innocence and Understanding
By Beatrice Moore
1500 Grand Avenue
Created by artist and historic preservation advocate Beatrice Moore on the east-facing wall of her former Kooky Krafts Shop, this mural channels not only childlike innocence and whimsy, but also the interdependence of all things. It serves as a playful reminder to not only follow one's own heart, but also to work with others to realize shared community values and goals.
By Chip Thomas, Jenn X. Chen, Karlito Miller Espinosa, Thea Gahr, and local artists
1023 Grand Avenue
While the progressive advocacy group Netroots Nation was in town during July 2015, several artists worked with Tucson's Colibri Center for Human Rights to create a migrant-theme mural. Chip Thomas (a.k.a. Jetsonorama) of the Navajo Nation, Jenn X. Chen of New York, Karlito Miller Espinosa (a.k.a. Mata Ruda) of New Jersey, and Thea Gahr of Mexico City and Oregon worked for several days on a mural depicting a central figure holding a photograph. It references those who’ve died while trying to cross the desert while migrating to the United States. Several local artists — including Lalo Cota, Jeff Slim, and Eduardo Pym – also worked on the mural.
By Laura Spalding Best
1515 West Roosevelt Street
Best created this mural at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Roosevelt Street in 2017. The piece comprises eight circular or semicircular vignettes connected by images of utility lines. The vignettes capture iconic Phoenix imagery such as the Arizona State Fairgrounds, Westward Ho, and South Mountain. They range in size from eight to 12 feet in diameter.
Nuestra Gente (Our People)
By El Mac, Mando Rascón, and Pablo Luna
1309 East Van Buren Street
One of many El Mac murals in the Valley, this piece was painted in early 2015. The central portion of the mural features the profile of a woman's face, painted with a range of silver and grey hues complimented by pale blues — plus a rosy blush color along a portion of her face. She's formed and surrounded by the wavy lines and concentric circles prominent in El Mac's work. It's flanked by his collaborators' work — elaborate interwoven lines, and skull-infused images including a serpent, mariachi musician, and lowrider.
By Joerael Elliott (with Jesse Perry)
815 North Second Street
Texas-born Joerael Elliott lived in Phoenix before moving on to Los Angeles and Santa Fe. And while he was in town, Elliott painted several murals, including this one at indie movie theater FilmBar. He’s also exhibited work at art venues including monOrchid and the Icehouse, and created several murals on a Navajo reservation in northern Arizona for the Painted Desert Project. During Paint PHX in 2015, he painted one of his characteristically complex figurative works on north- and east-facing walls at FilmBar – leaving a small space for Phoenix artist Jesse Perry to paint.
Don’t Wake the Dreamer
By Lauren Lee
817 West Fifth Street, Tempe
Shortly after Lauren Lee’s mural depicting three birds was lost to demolition in Roosevelt Row, the artist was busy working on the first public mural ever commissioned by the city of Tempe. Painted in May and June 2015, the mural's 16 feet high and 153 feet wide. It depicts a long-haired woman lying on her side, surrounded by colorful birds and flowers. Lee has another impressive large-scale mural located at the SOHO apartments in Scottsdale.
1350 West Roosevelt Street
Artist Maggie Keane payed tribute to Prince by painting this mural in the Grand Avenue arts district in 2019. The mural features several portraits of the artist, including a central image with giant automotive mirrors that serve as sunglasses lens. Keane has painted murals of several additional musicians around town, including David Bowie.
El oso plateado and the machine
110 North Central Avenue
Two bears form the most visible part of Swiss-based artist collective Nevercrew's "three-part intervention." Their work at the Heard building also includes a mural in the lobby that depicts various forms of communication such as film reels and printing presses, and there’s an alley mural that looks like a neon tube reading “On Air.” Curated by FatCap, the murals were completed in early 2018.
2828 North Central Avenue
From 2011 to 2013, American-born and Berlin-based artists Karl Addison and James Bullough collaborated as JBAK. Together, they created large-scale portraits like this joint effort in Phoenix that's 53 feet high and 23 feet wide. Painted in April 2013, the work depicts Addison’s grandmother Maxine and a fifth-generation Arizona native named Chris Neito. Addison’s solo works in Phoenix include portraits of John Waddell and Frank Henry located at Kitchen Sink Studios.
By Jeff Slim and Edgar Fernandez
1633 East McDowell Road
Artists Jeff Slim and Edgar Fernandez collaborated on this piece that references both the history and current diversity of a neighborhood along East McDowell Road that's called "Miracle Mile." The mural includes the word "unity" written in several languages, symbolism culled from O'odham pottery, and lines that reference masculinity and femininity. The central figure holds soil, which symbolizes the rich past of the region.
Let’s Get Free
By Douglas Miles
215 East Grant Street
On a long wall that runs behind Bentley Projects, there’s a mural by Douglas Miles, an artist who hails from the San Carlos Apache reservation just east of Globe. Created with help from Douglas Miles Jr., Monica Wapaha, and Danielle Mercado, the mural is rooted in Native American and Apache culture. Prominent figures include Geronimo and Our Lady of Apache (inspired the the iconic Our Lady of Guadalupe prevalent in Latino culture). Miles has other murals around town, at locations including monOrchid.
1 1/2 Street Project
901 North First Street
This collaborative mural painted in an alleyway east of The Churchill features work by some of the Valley's best-known mural artists, including Lalo Cota and Thomas "Breeze" Marcus. Highlights include Lucinda Hinojos' work raising awareness of murdered and missing indigenous women. Participating artists also include mural co-organizer Isaac Caruso, as well as Josh Brizuela, Andy Brown, Tato Caraveo, and JJ Horner, and Nyla Lee.
1872 East Apache Boulevard, Tempe
Tempe artist Kyllan Maney, who often designs community murals for Mesa Arts Center festivals, is best known for works featuring maps, birds, or abstract, symmetrical designs that look like elaborate mandalas. She’s collaborated with Lauren Lee on a Frida Kahlo-inspired mural at Mesa Urban Garden. In December 2015, Maney painted this mural as part of an urban revitalization project.
Reverberate Her Lines
4131 North 16th Street
Created by a collective of Native American graffiti artists who blend desert landscapes with compelling characters, this mural runs the length of Drumbeat Indian Arts’ south-facing wall. Completed during summer 2016, it features the work of 17 Native artists — including Bel2, CC, Gloe One, Perl, Stef XMEN, Rezmo, Cherri, Monstrochika, Lady Rise, Agana, iLash, Live, Sensi, Yukue, Averian Chee, Zena, and El Dreck.
Sign of the Times
By Hugo Medina
407 East Roosevelt Street
While witnessing the transformation of Roosevelt Row, where multilevel apartments now dominate the area around Roosevelt and Third Streets, Kimber Lanning commissioned this mural by Hugo Medina. The piece references the despair that artists and others have felt in seeing the loss of beloved community spaces in the wake of rapid commercial development and gentrification.
Oak Street Alley Mural
Oak and 14th Streets
For several years, artists have been converging on an alley where they're painted dozens of small murals that reflect the diversity and creativity of their individual styles and influences. The murals includes works by both emerging and established artists. Highlights include a mural by bacpac that's designed to raise awareness about the issue of school violence.
By Yatika Fields
2202 North 16th Street
This abstract piece was painted by Oklahoma-born artist Yatika Fields on a section of 16th Street dubbed Calle 16. It's home to several murals, including this one created as part of the Paint PHX event in 2014. The mural reflects the artist's take on the intersection of natural and urban environments, a theme that's prevalent in his larger body of work.
The Dressing Room 3.0
220 East Roosevelt Street
JB Snyder's artwork, which has graced the official map for Roosevelt Row, has long been part of the ever-evolving arts district. It's a beautiful mix of order with chaos, infused with bright colors like lime green and canary yellow that convey a sense of vibrancy and forward movement. One of several Snyder murals in downtown Phoenix, this piece painted in 2016 is a popular background for camera-happy tourists and locals. Snyder chose the mural's unusual name because he's painted three different designs on the same east-facing wall, starting in 2010.
The Painted Desert
By Rebecca Green
1231 Grand Avenue
Michigan-born artist Rebecca Green lived and worked for a time in Phoenix, sharing studio space at The Lodge — where she first painted a storybook-theme mural depicting a young girl reading a book surrounded by animals. After Green moved to Denver, she returned to cover the first mural with a second one, which features animals from different habitats joined together in painting their desert surroundings.
By Averian Chee, Angel Diaz, Xochitl Enriquez, Jeff Slim, Kim Smith, Cyphers Center artists
525 North First Street
One of 10 murals created around the globe through the Estria Foundation and Black Mesa Water Coalition, this piece is designed to raise awareness about water-related issues in the Sonoran Desert. Located near Fillmore Street on Valley Youth Theatre's building, the mural is a collaboration between Averian Chee, Angel Diaz, Xochitl Enriquez, Jeff Slim, Kim Smith, and Cyphers Center for Urban Art creatives.
Recently Discovered Jackalope Species
Camelback Road and Central Avenue
Look for Timothy Chapman's mural paying homage to desert plants and the mythical rabbit-like creature on the north side of Camelback Road just west of Central Avenue, in a part of town where you'll also find murals by Carrie Marill, Clyde, and other artists. Like several of the best murals in metro Phoenix, this piece makes a fun backdrop for selfies and other photographs.
2216 North 16th Street
One of several murals painted on an east-facing wall at Westwind Studios on 16th Street south of Oak Street, this piece by Amanda Adkins conveys an exuberance it’s hard to capture in other sections along the traffic-laden work-to-home route. Like many of her fine-art pieces, it merges human form with natural elements. Other artists featured on this wall include Ashley Macias and Benji Sakoia.
By Ashley Macias, Yai Cecream, and Volar
1029 North First Street
For this piece at Sutra Studios, a trio of artists with several works in downtown Phoenix collaborated to infuse a long wall with their signature styles. The hybridized design includes abstract and geometric designs, as well as images popular in the artists’ individual bodies of work. The mural stands as a vibrant marker of the creativity happening in and around Roosevelt Row. Look for one of Volar's abstract murals at 16th Street and Missouri.
By Cara To
2501 North 16th Street
Belgian-born artist and illustrator Cara To (a.k.a. Caratoes), who lives and works in Hong Kong, painted a new mural with a vintage-doll-meets-surreal-mermaid motif on the west-facing wall of a building on 16th Street at Sheridan Street, where it stands with other works created as part of the 2015 Paint PHX mural event.
Lalo Cota Collaboration
128 East Roosevelt Street
Carly’s Bistro boasts several murals featuring work by renowned muralist Lalo Cota, including a collaboration that runs the full length of its north-facing wall. The mural came together primarily in summer 2016, and includes work by several artists including Cota, Colton Brock, Angel Diaz, Pablo Luna, and JB Snyder. It also incorporates a piece by Los Angeles artist MDMN.
By Ray Sproule
918 North Second Street
Love, peace, and music collide in Roy Sproul’s grayscale mural located on a west-facing wall at former Revolver Records building. The work depicts music-related technology, including giant headsets and a gramophone. Sproul’s other local work includes a large-scale scene with characters from various theatrical productions, which takes up the entire north-facing wall at the offices for Valley Youth Theatre.
Tato Caraveo and Graham Carew
16th Street and Highland Avenue
For this collaboration, Phoenix-based Caraveo worked with Graham Carew, an artist based in the United Kingdom who was working in North Carolina at the time. Their work together include a towering image of a woman painted in Caraveo’s trademark style with a touch of surrealism, as well as a wall filled with flowers, birds, and other natural elements. You'll find one of Caraveo's many murals on the Arizona Opera building at 1636 North Central Avenue.
By Tyson Krank
Roosevelt and Fifth streets
Like many of Tyson Krank’s murals in downtown Phoenix, this piece features the profile of a woman’s face surrounded by botanical imagery. Located on the former Flowers building where other muralists have included El Mac and Tato Caraveo, it provided a beautiful frame for the giant map that guides visitors toward various locations in the Roosevelt Row arts district.
Garfield Elementary Mural
811 North 13th Street
This mural, which has been a work in progress since January 2018, is anchored on the south-facing wall by an image of the sun. Along an expanse measuring more than 200 feet, viewers see familiar Fortoul Brothers themes, such as food, water, air, and shelter — which represent abundance. It's inspired by indigenous peoples' respect for the earth, and designed to help youth embrace healthy eating.
Meet Me at Daley Park
By Jake Early
1525 South College Avenue, Tempe
This mural, painted in 2018 for Tempe Public Art, covers two walls joined at a corner near the railroad tracks on College Avenue. The walls are more than eight feet tall, with a combined length of nearly 400 feet. The shorter wall, which runs parallel with College Avenue, depicts contemporary Tempe – complete with a cyclist and a skateboarder. Early drew inspiration for the design from the surrounding neighborhood, and key moments in Tempe’s history.
Tara Sharpe and Eric Cox
Polk Street and 15th Avenue
Tara Sharpe and Eric Fox created this mural several years ago during a mural festival. It's a hauntingly beautiful homage to the human form, which conveys each of their talents for conveying complex emotions and mystery in their work.
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100 North First Street
Painted along a wall on the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel, this is one of several Clyde murals around metro Phoenix that's imbued with storytelling properties. The artist often features desert imagery and central figures that spark curiosity in viewers.
Editor's note: This post has been updated. It was originally published on March 6, 2018.