Tubac Festival of the Arts : Six Decades of the Tubac Festival of the Arts

The Tubac Historical Society looks back at six decades of the Tubac Festival of the Arts, 1960 - 2020, an exhibit held at the Tubac Center of the Arts from January 15 to February 21, 2021.

This exhibit was possible because of generous donors, dedicated volunteers, a growing membership and the cooperation of the Tubac Center of the Arts for the use of their space as well as the vast collection of historical records they loaned to us.

We are fortunate to have some oral histories that give us a personal account of the early days of the Festival.

According to Bunny Hanson, "I remember the very first Festival of the Arts. We had it at St. Ann's Hall. I ran the Festival with Ginger...Iverson.... It ran for two weeks. It was forever, and one year it snowed the entire time. It was a mess.... It was the first two weekends in February.... It would start on Friday and run through Sunday and it was too long.... Well we were head of the Festival a couple of years. We'd run around and tell people where to park and where to put up booths.... It was a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun, too....It was smaller cause it would fit mostly in St. Ann's Hall where they have the Montessori School now.... They didn't have fancy booths. It was more an artists' showing." [Bunny's daughter, Peachy McQueen adds] "We as kids would see these art displays and we would get to vote on them...It was all contained more or less in one building."

Lee Blackwell remembers his first Festival in 1982: "I found out about the Tubac Festival. And in those days, the way that it went is that you would find a sponsor. You would find a merchant or a property owner in town who liked your work and wanted you to set up in front of their place. And there was no formal process through the Chamber of Commerce, there was not a jurying committee, it was just you would find somebody to let you set up....So I... set up in front of their place [Jan and Harry Fancher]... In those days you didn't have pop-up tents, there were none, they didn't exist yet. Everybody made their own booth display. So I had two-by-fours and tarps....I set up my tarp in the sleet...In those days it was a ten day show...I was sleeping in my Suburban. Lorraine Mitchell, who used to be the owner of Tubac Ironworks, was very kind, and made coffee for me, and...I used her bathroom. The whole town was small, the number of vendors was small, it was just a different time."

Please enjoy this exhibit of posters, banners, programs, photos, advertisements and cartoons!

Click Here to Start the Exhibit.

Tubac Festival of the Arts