Shannon Stone, Executive Director of Tubac Presidio State Historic Park and Museum, is breathless over the Smithsonian coming to the Santa Cruz River. This isn’t just because volunteers and staff have spent the last week setting up Water/Ways, a museum-quality traveling exhibit, for its October 19 opening in the Presidio’s historic schoolhouse. Along with everyone in Tubac, Stone is excited to show the rest of Arizona what a healthy, flowing Santa Cruz River means to this unique community.

Here along the river, “water is life, and art is life” says Stone. Tubac is famous in Arizona as a one-of-a-kind arts colony. Fittingly, Tubac is promoting Water/Ways with art exhibits. One showcases works by the children of Santa Cruz County, revealing their perceptions of water and the Santa Cruz River, and the other features mixed media by artists from the United States and Mexico. Both shows will run until December 2019.

Awash in culture, Tubac lies within the Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area that covers most of the Santa Cruz River watershed. The river is bountiful, but not always tame. The Tubac Historical Society compiled oral histories from residents recalling the record-breaking Santa Cruz River floods of October 1983. Some stories are humorous and others sobering, says Stone, but all of them make listeners stop and think about how intimately Tubac is linked to the river that runs alongside it. Visitors can watch interview excerpts as part of the Tubac Water/Ways exhibit.

Planning for Water/Ways “really brought our community together,” Stone confides. As the exhibit host, Tubac Presidio is partnering with many local and regional organizations, a testament to the love the people of Tubac have for their river.

Image credit: Ian Poellet

Leave a Reply

Fill out the info below to sign up for our E-Newsletter.