Current Exhibitions

Current Exhibitions 2019-06-14T12:47:59+00:00

The Exhibits Program at Tohono Chul presents visual stories linking the nature, culture and arts of the Southwest. Focusing on the work of regional artists, we display vibrant works of art in a diverse array of thematic group exhibits. The charming adobe Exhibit House, built as a private home in 1937, is an ideal environment for visitors to view Southwestern artworks. Galleries in the Exhibit House are open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.

Exhibitions currently on display:

ON THE DESERT: An Exploration of Fibers

April 25 – July 31, 2019 | Main Gallery

Reception with the Artists | Thursday, April 25 | 5:30 – 8:00 pm

Woven, torn, pulped, beaten, soaked, stained, dried, drawn, simulated, stitched, painted, printed, turned, found, photographed, felted, braided, knitted, knotted, collaged, carved, burnt, abraded, cast, cut, folded, flocked, hooked,  pressed, laced, spun, sewn, etc.

Fiber can be and do so many things. For artists – it is a medium and a process – it is natural and synthetic – it is crafted by hand and industrially machined – it is everywhere and in everything – (like Pima Cotton) it is the fabric of our lives.

ON THE DESERT: An Exploration of Fibers will take to the desert in search of traditional and experimental artworks that are made of, on, and about any and all things fiber while simultaneously exploring (perhaps, redefining) the definition(s) of Fiber Art.

Artists were asked to employ every fiber of their being and contribute art works that are focused on the very fibers they are made with. The possibilities are endless.

Image | Lyn Hart | timepieces | handwoven cotton, hemp, linen, nettle and rayon tapestries altered with rust, tea, wine, agua de Jamaica, stitching mounted on reversed artist panel

Image | Anderson Weahkee | Frog Fetish | stone and beads | ACNO 87.2.2


April 25 – July 31, 2019 | Welcome Gallery

Reception with the Curators | Thursday, April 25 | 5:30 – 8:00 pm

NEW PERSPECTIVES is the fifth survey of objects from Tohono Chul’s Permanent Collection curated by Tohono Chul’s valued Docents and Volunteers. Serving as Guest Curators for 2019 are Midge Berlowe, Jane Fairchild, Priscilla Herrier and Jim Karp.

The permanent collection was started in 1986 with a donation of sixty-five objects from the Estate of Mrs. Robert Wilson. Mrs. Wilson was the mother of Tohono Chul founder, Dick Wilson. The desire to preserve and exhibit objects is deeply rooted in the Wilson family. Dick’s great, great, great-grandfather was Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827), a portraitist of the Federalist Era and founder of Philadelphia’s Peale Museum, one of America’s first major museums. Roughly a century and a half later, Harold S. Colton and Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton (Dick’s uncle and aunt) founded Flagstaff’s Museum of Northern Arizona. Today, Tohono Chul’s Permanent Collection has grown to include over 350 regional objects ranging from basketry, textiles, and ceramics to sculptural works and paintings.

All of the guest curators have dedicated themselves to Tohono Chul and jumped at the opportunity to explore the Permanent Collection and share their knowledge and appreciation of the objects they have chosen.

Image | Susan Fisher | Queen for a Night | digital drawing on metal


June 14 – July 21, 2019 | Entry Gallery Project Space

She is called the Queen of the Night, La Reina de La Noche or the Night Blooming Cereus and every summer, for one night only, whatever she may be called, Peniocereus greggii becomes the Belle of the Ball, the superstar of the Sonoran Desert. The Cinderella-like cactus looks like a dead stick for most of the year but transforms herself in the early summer months, blooming alongside many plants in the area and then closes forever by morning’s light.

Tohono Chul possesses 350 Peniocereus greggii, the largest private collection in the world. Many of these curious cacti were found growing in the park with others being donated over the years, some being saved from the bulldozer’s blade. The number of flowers blooming in one night has been as many as 174 on 69 plants. As beautiful and enchanting as the blooms of the Night Blooming Cereus are, what happens in the dry desert dirt and in the night time sky is as fascinating as the wondrous white blooms. Maintaining and sustaining the plant below ground is a turnip-like tuberous root and up in the sky, the tireless pollination of the Hawk Moth. The whole cycle is a marvelous story of courage, endurance, perseverance.

Learn more about Bloom Night and sign up for Bloom Watch at:

THE MIGHTY SAGUARO is Tucson artist, Debra Kay’s tribute to the majestic giant of the Sonoran Desert, the Saguaro Cactus.

Debra Kay’s ongoing portrayals of the lifecycle of the Saguaro Cactus utilizes inventive approaches to traditional quilt making. In Kay’s studio, a variety of fabrics and materials combine with a variety of techniques: couching, applique, piecing, painting, dying, staining, hand stitching, embroidery, machine stitching, weaving, etc., to create luscious picture planes of texture, pattern and color as well as visually compelling compositions and narratives.

THE MIGHTY SAGUARO exemplifies the versatility of quilt making as an art form and reinforces quilting’s historical presence in the world of storytelling all the while setting up a powerful and compelling argument for a prominent position of ‘craft’ in the contemporary artworld.

Image | William Lesch | Ocotillo Jungle | archival pigment print

 Art du Jour | William Lesch

December 2018 – March 2019 | Garden Bistro

Art du Jour features artwork by local and regional artists displayed throughout the dinning rooms of the Garden Bistro. The work of longtime Tucson artist, William Lesch is currently featured in the Bistro. Lesch is one of the region’s most recognized artists. He is an extraordinary photographer and a meticulous craftsman. He finds this world a miraculous place, and photography a means to explore it. More works by William Lesch are on exhibit in the Welcome Gallery of the Tohono Chul Exhibit House – he is the Featured Artist through February 6, 2019.

Image | Mark Rossi | Javelina Family | bronze

Sculpture in the Gardens | On the Grounds

Sculpture from Tohono Chul’s Permanent Collection by Mark Rossi, Fred Borcherdt, Kioko Mwitiki, David Weinert, Greg Corman, Ned Egan and others can be discovered throughout the Park.  Works by Tucson artists Phil Lichtenhan, Tidhar Ozeri, and Stuart Ross Snider are on loan from the artists as part of the project Art in the Gardens.

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