Arts & Culture
Ajo’s tri-cultural heritage has supplied endless inspiration to artists from around the world. With wonderful displays of public art, community art and an overall atmosphere of creativity, the Ajo community has become a melting pot for arts and culture.
Ajo welcomes group travelers from all over the world. If you'd like to request a customized Ajo experience for your next group trip, please fill out the form at the bottom of the page.
Sonoran desert inn & conference center
So much more than a hotel, the Sonoran Desert Inn & Conference Center serves as a gateway to the rich natural, cultural and recreational resources of the Sonoran Desert. Housed in an historic former elementary school, the property features 21 guest rooms, a 12-bed bunkhouse, 3 restored mid-century classroom spaces, a large auditorium that seats 250 people, and a fully-equipped commercial kitchen and dining room. It is situated within minutes of over 12 million acres of open wilderness.
CURLEY SCHOOL ARTISAN APARTMENTS & GALLERY
The Curley School Campus is a highlight of Ajo’s historic town center and a landmark you won’t want to miss. After the cessation of operation as a public school in 1992, the school was sold to private investors and later re-developed by the International Sonoran Desert Alliance who converted two of the three main buildings into Artisan Apartments. These beautiful, affordable live-work apartments put Ajo on the map as a center of creativity and artistic endeavor. Local artists display and sell their wares through the Gallery located inside the school.
The Clay Studio in the former Manual Arts Building on the Curley School campus is open to the community free of charge. Anyone interested is urged to drop by on Saturdays between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm to receive an orientation. Those using the studio purchase their own clay and operate on the honor system to pay for the use of glazes and to have their work fired.
The Wood Shop in the former Manual Arts Building on the Curley School campus is open to the community. Anyone wanting to use the shop must first take a workshop on safe operation of the power tools, agree to abide by shop rules, sign a waiver, and pay a $20/month or $50/quarter user fee. During the winter months, the Shop offers workshops in furniture repair and other small projects.
Also known as the ‘Beginning of Time’ mural by renowned Tohono O’odham artist Michael Chiago, this beautiful piece of art is located on Vananda Ave and is he largest of the public art installations planned for the Route 85 Ajo-to-Sonoyta corridor.
Located on Pizal Avenue, Triangle Park features the ‘Ajo Memory Project’ mosaics by To-Ree-Nee Wolf Keiser and with the help of other community members. These mosaics capture the history of residents of Indian Village and Mexican Town in artwork that will resonate with you for years to come.
visiting artist program
Each year, visiting artists are invited to Ajo to share their creativity and talent in Ajo, Sonoyta, Mexico, and in the western villages of the Tohono O’odham Nation. Resident artists have contributed to the community through the creation of puppets; mime, clowning, juggling and movement theater; mosaic tile workshops; basket weaving and water color painting.
ajo art self-guided walking tour
With 24 stops along the way, the Ajo Self-Guided Walking Tour provides artistic sights that you won’t find anywhere else. From mosaics to murals; tombstones to yard art this truly is one of the most unique art tours in Arizona.
ajo council for the arts (acfa)
ACFA is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and nurturing the cultural enrichment of Ajo, AZ and the surrounding area. Active committees in ACFA include theater, art, music, technical support, Discus Auditorium, and membership. ACFA meets the second Thursday of each month, from September through May. These meetings are open to all members.
STREET ART ALLEY
Created during the Community Arts Gathering in 2015 by the grassroots Ajo Street Art Project collective and partners, this unique mural exhibit is the result of the collaboration of artists coming together from all over the world to portray their rendition of Ajo, in the heart of the Sonoran Desert. Alley walls are continually transformed as murals continue to be added and expanded over time.
art under the arches
A project of the Ajo Council for the Fine Arts, Art Under the Arches is a fine art gallery that operates as a collective. Situated in the Historic Ajo Plaza, the gallery features paintings, photographs and sculptures from more than 20 local and regional artists. Check the Facebook page for upcoming shows.
A SPACE IN TIME FINE ART GALLERY
A fine art gallery owned and operated by photographer Gus Shoenamsgruber. This is a great place to find paintings and photographs that really capture the flavor of the desert Southwest.
THE BACKROOM GALLERY
Housed in the offices of the Ajo Copper News, a local weekly newspaper publisher, the Backroom Gallery is the best place to find really unique artwork. A self-proclaimed haven for “low-brow” art, the Back Room Gallery always finds a way to feature interesting work without taking itself too seriously.
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