Water, Arts, and Culture

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Tucson Water Selected for Water, Arts, and Culture Accelerator

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TUCSON, AZ March 26, 2021 – Tucson Water is one of four utilities across the nation selected by the US Water Alliance to participate in its inaugural Water, Arts, and Culture Accelerator.

The initiative invites arts-water partnerships in four communities who are committed to working together to address a local water and climate issue. In a competitive process, Tucson Water was chosen along with Central Arkansas Water, Philadelphia Water Department, and Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District. For approximately six months, participants in the accelerator will connect with peer utilities and partner artists to learn and inform the work as it progresses.

Tucson Water seeks to engage more deeply, broadly, and meaningfully with the community in terms of how it values, discusses, and stewards water. Cities and neighborhoods need creative thinking and problem-solving, especially when facing challenges formed by historic mistrust or a lack of common vocabulary. Artists and cultural contributors have practical and creative skills that can draw people and attention to an issue or place to facilitate engagement, education, understanding, and reconciliation. The Water, Arts, and Culture Accelerator leverages the resources of the US Water Alliance by creating a forum and structure for the utilities to exchange knowledge and develop best practices. In addition, the Alliance will provide $20,000 in resources to support an artist/culture bearer in each of the four communities.

Through a call-to-artists process, Chicana artist Alexandra (Alex!) Jimenez was selected by local community leaders and utility staff to work with Tucson Water. Jimenez is a print-maker, illustrator, and graphic designer born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. Her familial history in Tucson has grounded her work and given her a strong sense of place. She uses photography, illustration, print-making, and design to create works of art that speak to her heritage and sense of community.

Through the summer of 2021, Jimenez will partner with a small team from Tucson Water’s Public Information and Conservation Office applying her knowledge and practice of art, culture, and creativity to develop new cultural strategies for improving community engagement and building public trust around the topic of water. 

For millennia, water has played a central role in the history and identity of people in our regionThis connection is particularly rich among communities in what is now Tucson’s near west and south sideshome to the Santa Cruz Riverthe region’s first human settlement at Cuk Son, and the earliest instances of irrigated agriculture in North America. This project will be designed to build agency and equity among partners and stakeholders such as residents, businesses, utility staff, and policy makers who live and work in this area.

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US Water Alliance advances policies and programs to secure a sustainable water future for all. Established in 2008, the Alliance is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that educates the nation on the true value of water, accelerates the adoption of One Water policies and programs, and celebrates innovation in water management. The Alliance brings together diverse interests to identify and advance common-ground, achievable solutions to our nation's most pressing water challenges. Our membership includes water providers, public officials, business leaders, environmental organizations, community leaders, policy organizations, and more.

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Tucson Water is a department of the City of Tucson. The utility is committed to ensuring that customers receive high quality water and excellent service in a safe, reliable, efficient, and environmentally responsible manner.

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Alexandra (Alex!) Jimenez, is a Chicana print-maker, illustrator, and graphic designer born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. Her maternal lineage has been in Tucson for five generations. This familial history in Tucson has grounded her work and given her a strong sense of place. She uses photography, illustration, print-making and design to create works of art that speak to her heritage and sense of community.  In 2009 Alex completed a degree in Animal Sciences from Cornell University. MORE