The state of Arizona is an ideal destination for anyone who loves to travel and camp with an RV. Known as the “Grand Canyon State,” Arizona is famous for its low amount of rainfall, stunning natural scenery, and plenty of sunshine. Temperatures stay relatively warm throughout most of the year, even in January, making the state a prime escape from the winter weather elsewhere. There are plenty of great RV parks throughout Arizona for RVs to relax and explore the beautiful state and everything it has to offer. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Kaibab Camper Village
© Kaibab Camper Village
The Kaibab Camper Village in Fredonia, Arizona provides an ultimate camping experience along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It’s the only campground on the North Rim with full hookups for RVs and is able to accommodate big rigs measuring more than forty feet. There is also an economy camper cabin, a cabin-style room, and tent sites as well. The Kaibab National Forest surrounds the secluded campground, nestled among numerous tall pines and next to Jacob Lake and a gorgeous meadow. The surrounding area also offers opportunities for scenic tours, horseback riding, nature trails, and hiking.
Forest Service Rd 461, Fredonia, AZ 86022, Phone: 928-643-7804
2.Desert Shadows RV Resort
© Desert Shadows RV Resort
Situated in North Phoenix, the Desert Shadows RV Resort benefits from a convenient location off of Interstate 17. The well-maintained RV park features more than six hundred spaces offering everything RV campers need for a comfortable stay, whether it’s just for a night or long-term. While the Desert Shadows RV Resort is a friendly and peaceful place to stay, the resort is also located within close proximity to a variety of entertainment, restaurants, banks, grocery stores, shopping malls, and golf courses. RV sites include sewer and water hookups, as well as 30 and 50 amp electric service.
19203 N. 29th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85027, Phone: 623-869-8178
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3.Blue Sky Ranch RV Park
© Blue Sky Ranch RV Park
The Blue Sky Ranch RV Park is the premier boutique RV park of Yuma, Arizona, offering a wide range of modern amenities, including an enclosed dog park, a putting green, shuffleboard courts, curling lanes, a bocce ball court, a spa, and a swimming pool. The well-maintained RV park features everything guests would expect from a larger RV park, but with a friendlier and quainter atmosphere, along with beautiful landscaping and western decor. Complimentary wireless internet is offered at the Blue Sky Ranch RV Park, as well as laundry facilities, shower and restroom facilities, book and movie libraries, and a recreation room.
5510 E 32nd St, Yuma, AZ 85365, Phone: 928-726-0160
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4.Desert's Edge RV Park
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Desert's Edge RV Park is a remodeled RV park in Phoenix that has been carefully designed with a goal of maximizing the enjoyment and comfort of families who stay here and boasts a “retro,” fun appeal. One thing that makes this RV park unique is that it offers abundant citrus fruit for guests to pick. Just ten minutes away from Scottsdale and fifteen minutes away from downtown Phoenix, Desert’s Edge certainly has a convenient location. The park includes a large recreation hall and recreation room, on-site activities and events, a dog run, dog parks, a hot tub, and a heated swimming pool.
2398 W. Williams Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85027, Phone: 623-587-0940
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5.Eagle View RV Resort At Fort McDowell
© Eagle View RV Resort At Fort McDowell
The Eagle View RV Resort at Fort McDowell is situated just a short distance outside of Scottsdale, Arizona, at a place where the tradition and history of an ancient land and culture thrive and the Four Peaks rise up from the ground. As guests watch eagles flying through the sky and view the area’s grand mountains encircling the grounds, they will know they’re in a special place. Each RV campsite includes full electric and water hookups, along with great views, complimentary wireless internet, and waste disposal. Amenities include clean showers, a fitness center, laundry facilities, and a dog park.
9605 N. Fort McDowell Rd, Fort McDowell, AZ 85264, Phone: 480-789-5310
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6.J & H RV Park
© J & H RV Park
The J & H RV Park in the hills of Flagstaff, Arizona is located high up at seven thousand feet. The non-smoking and age-restricted RV park offers a friendly, safe, and clear setting for RV camping far enough away from the noise of traffic, railroads, and airports for a peaceful stay. Amenities at the award-winning J & H RV Park include an outdoor community fireplace, Sunday Potlucks, free Wi-Fi, a gift shop, clean restroom and shower facilities, laundry facilities, pet sitting, and tours of the Grand Canyon. Sites also include picnic tables and full hook-ups with 20, 30, and 50 amp service.
7901 N Hwy. 89, Flagstaff, AZ 86004, Phone: 928-526-1829
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7.Grand Canyon Camper Village
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The Grand Canyon Camper Village is a privately owned campground on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, just a short distance from the entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park. The conveniently located camping destination provides an ideal campground for tents, trailers, and RVs and is open throughout the entire year. The park is also only full-service campground located within just twenty-five miles of the Grand Canyon National Park. Guests can also use the free shuttle operated by the national park to get to shops, restaurants, the IMAX theater, and more in Tusayan between March and Labor Day.
549 Camper Village Ln, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023, Phone: 928-638-2887
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8.Happy Days RV Park
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The Happy Days RV Park is located in scenic Apache Junction, Arizona and is an active, year-round RV park for campers aged fifty-five or older. The park features 180 level, full-hookup, large RV sites, each with concrete patios and 50-amp electric service. Happy Days RV Park also provides a variety of amenities, such as free wireless internet throughout the property, lighted shuffleboard courts, a billiard room, a recreation hall, a huge whirlpool spa, a heated swimming pool, a putting green, a golf driving cage, daily activities, a modern large laundry facility, free private showers, clean restroom facilities, and a free computer library.
451 North Meridian Rd, Apache Junction, AZ 85120, Phone: 480-982-4369
9.Cave Creek Regional Park
Cave Creek Regional Park, located in its namesake town of Cave Creek, offers a campground for families, consisting of more than fifty campsites for both RV and tent camping. The average RV site is forty feet, but pull-through sites are able to accommodate up to sixty-foot RVs and feature electric and water hookups, as well as a fire ring and a picnic table. The campground also includes very clean restroom facilities with hot showers and flush toilets and a dump station available at no extra cost to registered campers. Cave Creek Regional Park provides opportunities for horseback riding and hiking as well.
37900 E. Cave Creek Parkway, Cave Creek, AZ 85331, Phone: 602-506-2930
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10.Mesa Spirit RV Resort
© Mesa Spirit RV Resort
The Mesa Spirit RV Resort in Mesa, Arizona is an ideal destination for a warm-weather camping experience, providing a wide range of attractions and activities, such as swimming, fishing, casinos, golfing, spas, shopping, sporting events, and more. The pet-friendly RV resort is located within the desert to the west of Arizona’s scenic Superstition Mountains, just thirty minutes from the city of Phoenix. Mesa Spirit is an adult community with approximately 1,800 RV sites featuring full hookups. There are also RV park models available for guests to rent or buy if they don’t already have an RV.
3020 E Main St, Mesa, AZ 85213, Phone: 877-570-2267
11.Meteor Crater RV Park
Meteor Crater RV Park offers a place for RV campers to take in the natural beauty of Northern Arizona and sleep underneath a starry night sky. Situated in Winslow, Arizona, the property is named after the nearby Meteor Crater, one of the most preserved impact craters in the world, measuring almost one mile in diameter. The Meteor Crater RV Park consists of over seventy RV sites and all of the necessary amenities for a comfortable stay, including shower facilities, full laundry facilities, a pool, a convenience store, bocce courts, a chip and putt nine-hole course, wireless internet, and more.
140 Meteor Crater Rd, Winslow, AZ 86047, Phone: 928-289-4002
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12.Phoenix Metro RV Park
© Phoenix Metro RV Park
The Phoenix Metro RV Park is a unique full-service Phoenix RV park for guests ages fifty-five and up, offering RVers a “home-away-from-home.” There are more than three hundred RV sites featuring full hookups for electric, sewer, and water at the park, as well as an array of amenities, such as a large clubhouse that hosts a variety of planned events and activities, outdoor and indoor recreation, a spa, and a swimming pool. Planned events include things like potlucks, social hours, water exercise classes, casino trips, billiards and shuffleboard tournaments, bingo, card/poker games, catered festivities, luncheons, and much more.
22701 N Black Canyon Hwy, Phoenix, AZ 85027, Phone: 623-582-0390
13.Watson Lake Park
Watson Lake Park is located near Prescott, Arizona, easily accessible off of Highway 89. The beautiful lake and park is only four miles away from the town’s downtown district and offers a wide array of outdoor activities for guests besides camping, including picnicking, rock climbing, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, boating, and fishing. The park also provides access to the Granite Dells and its boulders, along with the Watson Woods. Amenities at Watson Lake include a playground, grills, picnic tables, restroom and shower facilities, horseshoe pits, a large turf area, a courtesy dock, two boat launches, fish cleaning station, and kayak and canoe rentals.
3101 Watson Lake Park Rd, Prescott, AZ 86301, Phone: 928-777-1122
14.Paradise RV Resort
Paradise RV Resort is another RV park in the Phoenix area for RV campers above the age of fifty-five. This five-star rated RV park provides plenty of activities, both on-site and around other parts of the state. Amenities at the Paradise RV Resort include a clubhouse, a dog park, shower facilities, clean restrooms, a game room, sports courts, a library, a swimming pool, and much more. The resort also offers easy access and arranges outings to numerous nearby restaurants and shops, as well as hiking, parks, baseball, the Musical Instrument Museum, the Phoenix International Raceway, and much more.
10950 W. Union Hills Dr, Sun City, AZ 85373, Phone: 877-570-2267
15.Grand Canyon Railway RV Park
Located just outside of Williams, Arizona, the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park is a gateway to the spectacular splendor and breathtaking scenery of the world-famous Grand Canyon. Nestled within a mountain community, the park is able to accommodate nearly any size RV in the numerous back-in, buddy, and pull-through RV sites. Guests won’t need to worry about not having the comforts of home they’re used to since the sites include complimentary wireless internet, digital television, and full hookups for electric, sewer, and water. Guests can reach the Grand Canyon National Park via the train that departs from town.
601 W Franklin Ave, Williams, AZ 86046, Phone: 800-843-8724
16.White Mountain Vacation Village
© White Mountain Vacation Village
The White Mountain Vacation Village in Show Low encompasses more than 150 acres of tall Ponderosa pines, providing a picturesque setting for RV campers looking to escape from the chaos of the busy city life and relax in the outdoors. The property is a place where RV owners can live a rustic lifestyle just a short distance from many local attractions, including the Sunrise Ski Area and ten golf courses. The White Mountain Vacation Village also hosts a variety of summer activities in the outdoor pavilion and the clubhouse, such as potlucks, cards, dancing, horseshoe tournaments, and more.
4101 S. White Mountain Rd, Show Low, AZ 85901, Phone: 928-358-0397
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17.Wild West Ranch & RV Resort
© Wild West Ranch & RV Resort
The Wild West Ranch and RV Resort features 125 well-manicured, landscaped, and oversized RV sites that include 30 and 50-amp electric service and sewer and water hookups. Along with these comfortable RV spaces, the resort also provides a wide array of amenities including an activity center, a card and RV wash, local television, a full kitchen, a 24-hour laundry facility, hiking trails, shuffleboard, a bathhouse with showers, postal service, horseshoes, gated storage, citrus groves, and complimentary wireless internet. The pet-friendly RV park is also located neary many different local attractions and activities, such as casinos, hot air ballooning, the Superstition Mountains, and much more.
860 S John Wayne Pkwy, Maricopa, AZ 85139, Phone: 520-858-5035
18.Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area
The Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area is a destination in which guests can enjoy a beautiful slice of the White Mountain region of Arizona right from their own campsite. There are more than thirty tent campsites on the grounds and the campground includes concrete pads, picnic tables, fire rings, showers, and restrooms. There are also nearly one hundred RV campsites with water and 30-amp service at every site, as well as 50-amp service at some. These sites can accommodate rigs up to forty feet in length. The Redhead and Mallard Loops also offer sewer hookups.
1500 N. Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low, AZ 85901, Phone: 928-537-3680
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19.Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort
The Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort consists entirely of back-in RV sites and sites are a minimum of forty feet wide and fifty feet deep. Each RV site is equipped with full hookups, including electricity, sewer, water, and 50 amps, as well as cable television, wireless internet, and patio pads. Palm Creek provides a wide array of amenities for guests as well, including laundry facilities, a fireside patio, the Pro Shop, The Bistro, a very large whirlpool, a swimming pool, an arts and crafts center, a fitness center, a billiards room, a ballroom, a sports complex, an activities center, and Guest Services.
1110 North Henness Rd, Casa Grande, AZ 85122, Phone: 800-421-7004
20.Rancho Sedona RV Park
© Rancho Sedona RV Park
Located near Sedona, Arizona, the Rancho Sedona RV Park offers an excellent home base for exploring everything the picturesque area has to offer. The oasis in the desert is nestled away within the shade of sycamore and cottonwood trees in Oak Creek, surrounded by the Coconino National Forest and within walking distance of mountain biking, swimming, hiking, and trout fishing. The RV park itself offers a golf course and a spa, as well as concrete patios, full hookups, complimentary Wi-Fi, and digital cable at its RV sites. For adventurous guests, Rancho Sedona also offers helicopter and hot air balloon rides.
135 Bear Wallow Ln, Sedona, AZ 86336-4276, Phone: 928-282-7255
21.Arizona Oasis RV Resort
© Arizona Oasis RV Resort
The Arizona Oasis RV Resort is located just twenty minutes away from Quartzsite, Arizona in the town of Ehrenberg, providing a great destination to getaway from everything and recharge. There is plenty to do in and around the RV park. Guests can go kayaking or boating down the scenic Colorado River, discover wildlife in the Blythe Desert by ATV, relax in the swimming pool, have a barbecue on the beach, and much more. The dog-friendly and family-friendly Arizona Oasis RV Resort features one thousand feet of beach along the river, a boat launch, and a heated pool and spa.
50238 Ehrenberg Parker Hwy, Ehrenberg, AZ 85334, Phone: 928-612-3342
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22.Leaf Verde RV Resort
© Leaf Verde RV Resort
The Leaf Verde RV Resort is a family-owned and operated RV park that has been a part of the greater Phoenix area for more than thirty years. A recipient of several guest satisfaction awards, it’s considered by many to be one of the best RV parks in the area. The peaceful desert landscape of Arizona that surrounds the campsites provides a perfect setting for relaxing and taking in the gorgeous sunset every night. The Leaf Verde RV Resort is close to a wide variety of attractions and activities, such as the Wildlife World Zoo, the Challenger Space Center, and the Phoenix International Raceway.
1500 S Apache Rd, Buckeye, AZ 85326, Phone: 623-386-3132
© Philip Schubert/stock.adobe.com
Centrally located within the “Valley of the Sun,” the Green Acres RV Park offers southwestern hospitality and small park charm. The West Mesa park provides an escape from the hustle of the city life with its relaxed atmosphere and plenty of space to sit and simply relax, whether that’s lounging by the pool or in the shade of guests’ own shaded on-site patio. Green Acres in Mesa, Arizona consists of sixty-five RV sites with free wireless internet, full hookups, CATV, and concrete patios. There are also several other amenities throughout the grounds, including modern, clean restrooms and access to many nearby attractions.
2052 W Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201, Phone: 480-964-5058
23 Best Arizona RV Parks
- Kaibab Camper Village, Photo: Kaibab Camper Village
- Desert Shadows RV Resort, Photo: Desert Shadows RV Resort
- Blue Sky Ranch RV Park, Photo: Blue Sky Ranch RV Park
- Desert's Edge RV Park, Photo: Andrey Armyagov/stock.adobe.com
- Eagle View RV Resort At Fort McDowell, Photo: Eagle View RV Resort At Fort McDowell
- J & H RV Park, Photo: J & H RV Park
- Grand Canyon Camper Village, Photo: Tomasz Zajda/stock.adobe.com
- Happy Days RV Park, Photo: Tomasz Zajda/stock.adobe.com
- Cave Creek Regional Park, Photo: jearlwebb/stock.adobe.com
- Mesa Spirit RV Resort, Photo: Mesa Spirit RV Resort
- Meteor Crater RV Park, Photo: Oleksandr/stock.adobe.com
- Phoenix Metro RV Park, Photo: Phoenix Metro RV Park
- Watson Lake Park, Photo: natureguy/stock.adobe.com
- Paradise RV Resort, Photo: yaalan/stock.adobe.com
- Grand Canyon Railway RV Park, Photo: zhukovvvlad/stock.adobe.com
- White Mountain Vacation Village, Photo: White Mountain Vacation Village
- Wild West Ranch & RV Resort, Photo: Wild West Ranch & RV Resort
- Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area, Photo: Norm/stock.adobe.com
- Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort, Photo: jure/stock.adobe.com
- Rancho Sedona RV Park, Photo: Rancho Sedona RV Park
- Arizona Oasis RV Resort, Photo: Arizona Oasis RV Resort
- Leaf Verde RV Resort, Photo: Leaf Verde RV Resort
- Green Acres, Photo: Philip Schubert/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: adogslifephoto/stock.adobe.com
Attraction Spotlight: Southern Arizona Transportation Museum
Located in Tucson, Arizona, the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum is a museum dedicated to the history and preservation of southwestern United States railroads, featuring a fully restored historic locomotive. Tucson's Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, located on Toole Avenue in the city's downtown area, was built in 1907 as part of the Southern Pacific Railroad network.
In 1998, the facility was purchased by the City of Tucson for restoration. A master plan called for the restoration of the main depot to its 1941 architectural style for use as an Amtrak station, along with the creation of a transportation museum at the depot's former records building.
The museum was opened to the public in March 2005 to commemorate the 125th anniversary of railroads in Tucson. Today, it is managed by Old Pueblo Trolley, a nonprofit educational organization named after the city's former streetcar line.
The museum is free and open to the public, who may tour its exhibits along with the rest of the historic depot facility.
The centerpiece of the museum is the fully restored Southern Pacific locomotive #1673, which was produced by New York company Schenectady Locomotive Works in 1900. Originally known as Schenectady 5683, the 2-6-0 M-4b Mogul locomotive logged over a million miles of transport for the Southern Pacific Railroad from 1901 through the late 1940s. The 146,000-pound oil-burning machine is one of 105 in its class produced, and one of a few still in existence today. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
Throughout the 1950s, the engine was primarily used for publicity and events, including an appearance on screen in the 1954 film Oklahoma. It was also the star of the Southern Pacific's 75th anniversary celebration in Arizona in 1955, pulling an excursion train for a crowd of 10,000. Following the event, the locomotive was retired and donated to the city, which placed it on display in front of the Arizona Historical Society headquarters. In 1962, it was moved to a public display location at Himmel Park, where it stayed until December of 2000. Throughout its display at the park, exposure to the elements and public vandalism caused significant deterioration of the machine's condition, prompting a number of failed attempts to move it to a more protected site. It has been fully restored several times, once in the mid-1990s and again as part of its move to the Transportation Museum, which is dedicated to ongoing repairs and restorations to keep the engine at its original running condition.
Though the Amtrak station is still in daily operation, museum guests may visit the restored Depot Lobby, which serves as a living history museum area. It has been fully restored to its 1942 architecture, featuring intricate floor tile work representative of the time period. Several permanent bilingual exhibits are housed within the Records Building, including Voices of Southern Arizona Railroaders, which features oral history accounts from railroad employees who worked at the station during the steam and diesel periods. Six panels produced in conjunction with a 2011 Union Pacific Centennial Train visit event are on display at the museum, outlining the history and evolution of railroads in Arizona from 1854 to the present. Visitors may also tour the facility's grounds, which feature the Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday Statue, commemorating the duo's revenge against Frank Stillwell, suspected murderer of Morgan Earp.
Ongoing Programs and Events
The museum maintains an active library collection, featuring databases of periodicals, books, films, and multimedia related to railroad history. In addition to the museum's permanent collections on display at the depot, the 1919 Tucson, Cornelia and Gila Bend Railroad Boxcar #203 is held at the Old Pueblo Trolley's Motor Bus Division Yard, available for visit by appointment.
In May, the Silver Spike Festival is hosted by the museum in downtown Tucson, commemorating the 1880 arrival of railroads to the city. On the five Tuesdays leading up to the celebration, a lecture series is held at the museum, highlighting railroad history topics. Every January, the Dillinger Days event remembers the capture of infamous Tucson criminals the Dillinger Gang, with a showcase of antique cars and 1930s-style dancers. Other annual events include the Tucson Birthday Celebration in August and the Holiday Express in December, which offers photographs with Santa in front of the #1673 locomotive.
The Locomotive Saturdays program takes place every Saturday, with volunteer docents on site to answer questions about steam locomotives. Guided tours of the museum as well as walking history tours highlighting historic spots in the city's downtown area, are also offered for small groups and organizations. Educational programs for students and youth on train safety are presented in conjunction with the Arizona chapter of Operation Lifesaver, an international train safety awareness program founded in 1972.
414 N Toole Ave, Tucson, AZ 85701, Phone: 520-623-2223
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Attraction Spotlight: University of Arizona Museum of Art & Archive of Visual Arts (UAMA)
The University of Arizona Museum of Art (UAMA) is the University of Arizona’s art museum and gallery and is located on campus near Park Avenue and Speedway Boulevard in Tucson. The Museum features a permanent collection of over 6,000 works of art with a focus on European and American fine art, including oils and watercolor paintings, prints, drawings, and sculptures. The collection spans from Renaissance to the present with old masters blending seamlessly with contemporary and modern art. The UAMA forms part of ‘the Museum Neighborhood,’ which is a group of four museums all within easy distance of each other in the same area, namely the Arizona State Museum, the Center for Creative Photography, the Arizona Historical Society and the UAMA.
The University of Arizona Museum of Art was established in 1930 when 200 prints and lithographs were donated by artists that supported the Works Projects Administration, which formed the basis of the first collection. The Museum of Art then saw additional collections being donated by alumnus Charles Leonard Pfeiffer who proffered numerous American paintings and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation who gave the gallery 50 European paintings, among others, doubling the Museum’s holdings and helping it grow into the renowned art institution it is today.
The UAMA features an impressive permanent collection of more than 6,000 works of art, ranging from the Renaissance era to the Modern and Post-Modern genres. The Samuel H. Kress Collection consists of more than 60 European works dating back to the 14th century until the 16th century, including works by Maestro Bartolomé and Fernando Gallego. One of the Museum’s most inspiring pieces of work is a 26-panel retablo (a church altarpiece with a religious relief) of the Cathedral of the Ciudad Rodrigo and includes depictions of the Creation, Genesis, the Life of Christ and the Last Judgment. Considered to be ‘some of the most beautiful and iconographical ambitious paintings of the 15th century,’ a documentary was made on the famous work, tracing its journey through history from surviving the Napoleonic Wars to being stored in a bunker during World War II.
Other notable works from the Kress Collection include paintings by Domenico Tintoretto, Vittore Carpaccio, Jusepe de Ribera, and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Late Medieval and Renaissance paintings include works by Niccolo Del Ser Sozzo Tegliacci, Jacopo del Casentino, Guidiccio Cozzarelli, and Taddeo di Bartolo
The C. Leonard Pfeiffer Collection includes an array of American works from the early 20th century, including Edward Hopper, Philip Evergood, John French Sloan, Reginald Marsh, Stuart Davis, and John Steuart Curry. The Edward J. Gallagher III Memorial Collection showcases over 200 European and American works from the late 19th and 20th centuries with sculptures by renowned artists Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, and Alexander Archipenko, as well as abstract expressionist paintings by Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, and Mark Rothko. Other noteworthy artists to view include Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Salvador Dalí, Marc Chagall, Joan Miró, Emil Nolde, and Kurt Schwitters
The Robert Priseman Collection comprises 71 of damaged religious icons that British artist Robert Priseman purchased from eBay and over-painted with a 20th-century celebrity, mimicking the replacement in the contemporary culture of faith with fame and of saints with ‘stars.’
The Jacques and Yulla Lipchitz Collection: Sketches and Models feature over 60 clay and plaster models by Jacques Lipschitz, tools from his studio and several full sculptures and portrait busts dating back to 1911.
The UAMA has a research arm known as the Archive of Visual Arts (AVA) and features over 200 paintings and drawings, including famous pieces of space art known as Mars Metropolis and Mars Outpost.
UAMA is committed to promoting the Museum’s collection as a University resource for both students and visitors that encourages communication, collaboration, and further learning. The Museum offers an array of educational programs, workshops, classes and community-based events that are designed to empower and engage audiences of all ages and inspire them to develop an interest in art and culture. Activities include reading, arts, and crafts, investigating objects and art materials and exploring works of art.
Back to: Things to Do in Tucson, AZ
1031 North Olive Road, Tucson, AZ 85721-0002, Phone: 520-621-7567
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Attraction Spotlight: Center for Creative Photography
The Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in Tucson is considered among the world’s best fine art academic museums and study centers for photography. Over 200 archival collections include the works of master photographers such as Ansel Adams, Frederick Sommer, Aaron Siskind, Edward Weston, Lola Alvarez Bravo and W Eugene Smith among many others.
Over 5 million objects are in the archives, including negatives, working prints, contact sheets, writing, scrapbooks and other memorabilia. Exhibition catalogues, oral histories and journals round out the research collection. In addition to the archives and research materials, the museum has acquired close to 100,000 fine art photographs by over 2,000 photographers. The Fine Art collection is noted for including the works of the best photographers working in 20th century North America. A Digital Imaging Department at the center is tasked with cataloging each of these works to make more of the prints available for online viewing. The center, in partnership with the Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO), has been a pioneer in making museum collections available online for educational purposes. Archives and manuscripts are available for anyone who would like to access the bibliographies, writings, books, films and dissertations on the photographers in the collection. Oral histories include recorded interviews, lectures, and workshops with the photographers, art historians and scholars. The center shows the collection through rotating exhibits both on location and at the Phoenix Art Museum. The collection is also available for viewing and research by appointment.
History: After a meeting between lauded American photographer Ansel Adams and the University of Arizona president John Schaefer, the Center for Creative Photography opened in 1975 with the archival collections of 5 master photographers who were living at the time, including Adams, Aaron Siskind and Frederick Sommer, Wynn Bullock and Harry Callahan. Schaefer had approached Adams with the suggestion to keep his archives at the University, and Adams agreed with the stipulation that his works would be part of a larger collection. In the 40 years since, the center has become a noted leader in research, teaching and the preservation and appreciation of North America’s greatest photographers.
Ongoing Programs and Education: Programs at the center focus primarily on research and the center’s role as a teaching institution. Research assistance is available for anyone who would like to search the archives, oral histories or rare books and reference materials. A dedicated study center on the 2nd floor, named for the late Laura Volkerding, an American editor and photographer, is open by appointment and offers ample space for anyone working with the archived materials. The center offers a number of fellowships, paid internships and grants for those conducting research in the field of photography. Educator’s guides pair images from the current exhibits with a wide range of curricula. For example, the educator’s guide to the Aaron Siskind and Max Yavno Archives offers studies that explore not only the photographs of Mexico, but language studies, Mexican American studies, history, geography and the differences between documentary and abstract photography. “Indivisible: Stories of American Community” is a national documentary project examining 12 diverse communities in the United States. The curriculum guide explores the vision of the photographers alongside interviews with folklorists and oral historians.
Past and Future Exhibits: Events at the center include lectures, print viewings and book signings. Past events have included a screening of the movie “Infiltrators” by Arizona based artist Khaled Jarrar. The film takes a look at daily life in Palestine. The Ansel Adams birthday celebration was a free event that offered viewings of his prints as well as a lecture with curator Rebecca Senf, who discussed her favorite pieces. Past exhibits included “Recent Acquisitions and From the Vault” which showcased some of the Center’s rarely seen archival materials, as well as fine art prints acquired within the past 18 months, highlighting the power of new acquisitions to complement studies of archival collections. “Performance: Contemporary Photography and the Douglas Neilson Collection” showed 100 photographs from the private collection of Douglas Neilson, a choreographer and dance professor at the University of Arizona. The exhibit included work by Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin, Bruce Nauman, Diane Arbus and John Baldessari among others.
What’s Nearby: Other museums on the campus of the University of Arizona include the Museum of Art, the Arizona State Museum and the Mineral Museum. The Center for Creative Photography hosts traveling exhibits at the Phoenix Art Museum.
1030 N. Olive Rd., Tucson, AZ 85721, Phone: 520-621-7968
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