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The Daily Wildcat

98° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Dry River floods sense of Tucson community

    The Dusty Buskers were one of several bands that performed at the Dry River Collective June 30 as part of a concert to celebrate the organizations new facility at North Main Street.
    The Dusty Buskers were one of several bands that performed at the Dry River Collective June 30 as part of a concert to celebrate the organization’s new facility at North Main Street.

    Tucson has earned its place on the map for having a socially conscious community and an accepting atmosphere. With alternative lifestyles like the gay and lesbian scene being openly embraced and the recent peaceful protests for humane immigration laws, the city has become a center of political freedom and a haven for knowledgeable citizens. One organization that promotes political awareness in downtown Tucson is the Dry River Collective, 740 N. Main St.

    At first glance, the run-down building the Dry River inhabits may seem like an abandoned warehouse, with graffiti decorating the outside and couches on the lawn. The large number of homeless people that visit the space, mostly for free clothing, water and entertainment, suggests this area is controlled by squatters.

    However, once you enter the Collective, the atmosphere is that of a giant living room. A massive library with both books and magazines ranging from self-defense to the history of Asia is directly on the left as you walk in. Comfortable couches and chairs section off the library, while still more chairs and couches face the platform stage.

    The Dry River Collective free store contains a bookcase full of donated clothes, accessories and other random things that fall under the “”one man’s treasure”” category. Children in ripped T-shirts, obviously from the free store, run around playing with whichever adult will give them attention. Everyone there is friendly and welcoming, even though some people have never met before.

    “”The Dry River is an actual positive environment to be in, which is rare in our current social situation,”” said Mike Lacey, a frequent Dry River visitor. “”It’s good to see people united over something, such as politics and social views, that they care about.””

    The Dry River Collective is an anti-capitalist group trying to build a better community in the heart of Tucson. Founded by politically aware Tucson residents, The Dry River has become a place where everyone is welcome to explore their magazine library, free Internet, a free school, free concerts and even a free store comprised of donated items. The free school features Spanish classes, self-defense classes and an upcoming yoga class.

    “”The Dry River is a place to work on community building and progressive politics. This is important because we have a media that only tells one side of stories,”” said Chad Wellins, one of the founding members of the collective. “”The sense of community in the U.S. is very minimal, and we’re trying to improve that.””

    The ambiance is not always serious, however. The Dry River also has local and famed artists play free concerts (donations are always accepted) ranging from acoustic indie-rock to grindcore metal. The Dry River has turned itself into a splendid local venue encompassing a wide range of activities for every member of the community to participate in.

    For more information about upcoming events, visit the Dry River Collective online at or

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