Permanent Collection

Permanent Collection 2019-02-28T10:24:21+00:00

Permanent Collection

Tohono Chul’s Permanent Collection consists of artworks and artifacts representative of the Nature, Art, and Culture of the Sonoran Desert Region. Ranging from basketry and fiber arts to sculptural works and paintings, works from the Permanent Collection are displayed through our Quarterly “Collection Spotlight” and periodically in our thematic exhibitions.

Many of the sculptural works on the grounds are Permanent Collection items, including work by Mark Rossi, Fred Borcherdt, Ned Egen, and many others on display year-round.


In May and June, the saguaro cactus blooms, promising fruit to come. At night, long-nosed bats feast on the blossom’s pollen and nectar, assisting in pollination, which is essential for fertilization and fruit production of the cactus. Gila woodpeckers nest in cavities hollowed out of saguaros.

Michael Chiago is a well known Tohono O’odham artist born on the O’odham reservation west of Tucson.  His paintings depict the traditional gatherings that bring his people together in friendship and prayer and are often set against a backdrop of mountains and the desert where he lives. Chiago illustrated the children’s book Sing Down the Rain which tells the story of the saguaro wine ceremony. He was also commissioned to create a series of paintings for Tohono Chul Park’s Saguaro Trail which explores the importance of the saguaro for the Tohono O’odham people.

Image | Michael Chiago | Desert at Night | watercolor on paper | 2003.2.4

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