Brad: Chasing Rain

Brad. Faces of the Festival 2018. Steven Meckler photo.

I was born in LA but my family moved here when I was three. We grew up on the Northwest side of town, just on a desert one-acre lot so that was our playground. I just loved it. We’d go running out and playing in the arroyo every time the storms came through. Unfortunately, most of my desert playgrounds are gone—they’ve been bladed over and concreted. So that’s super depressing but that’s also an aspect that motivates my work. Not only do I want to save what’s left, but I want to reestablish a lot of what’s been lost. When my brother and I moved to the middle of town, we wondered, Where is the desert? So we’ve been striving to create corridors of it along the streets and in the public rights-of-way. We want to bring the experience we had as kids to the kids in that neighborhood. My dad was the community relations director at Pima Community College when it started, and he was incredibly connected to various communities here, even though he wasn’t from here. That was is job, to connect. I didn’t realize until years later that he could have connected me to O’odham runoff farmers. I regret not tapping into that back then. But now, a lot of the work I’m doing is mimicking and building on that traditional water harvesting practice. The urban street runoff harvesting is a form of traditional Ak-Chin runoff farming that was using water flowing down arroyos. In the urban environment many of our arroyos are streets, but you can use the same practice.

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