From the Heart of New York to the Heart of Tucson – Mobile Pools Coming to MOCA this Summer

May 20, 2015

One of the original pools in NYC.

By Cristina Manos

Something is happening at Tucson’s Museum of Contemporary Arts (MOCA) this summer that seems like a dream you might conjure up with friends over happy hour. What if dumpsters were converted into swimming pools, and were transported here to Tucson somehow, and set up in Downtown where we could swim with accessories like live bands, a film screening and even a circus sideshow to add even more character?

Well that’s exactly what Jocko Weyland, curator of MOCA, is doing this summer. The three dumpster-derived mobile pools will travel across the United States from New York to be set up in the Great Hall at Moca for Tucsonans to use from June 20 to September 26. For three months, the hall will be transformed into a swim party, complete with AstroTurf, lounge chairs and entertainment.

MOCA members will be able to cool off in the pool all summer long.

MOCA members will be able to cool off in the pool all summer long.

Mobile pools at MOCA are made possible by Macro Sea, a New York based real estate development firm whose passion for repurposing urban spaces received national acclaim in 2009, when they transformed a junkyard in Brooklyn into a pool party mecca by converting three 30 cubic-yard dumpsters into swimming pools. The project received swarms of media attention including articles by The New York Times, and was featured on shows such as “The David Letterman Show” and NPR, to name a few. The following year, the mayor’s office and department of transportation invited Macro Sea to set up the dumpster pools at NYC’s Third Annual Summer Streets event in front of Grand Central Station.

Now, the three pools, already broken in by New Yorkers, will arrive in Tucson to be put to use by hundreds of Tucsonans. What a way to share the love! Executive Director and Founder of Macro Sea, David Belt, is donating the pools and the cost of transporting them to MOCA for the summer. Weyland worked at Macro Sea before moving to Tucson and was Belt’s partner in crime with developing the concept for repurposed mobile pools. They got the idea from Curtis Crow, drummer for the band Pylon, who converted a dumpster to a pool in Athens, Georgia.

Recently, Belt came to visit Tucson and fell in love with Downtown and MOCA, became inspired to donate, and the famous dumpsters will be a welcome summer addition during the desert heat.

“Tucson is a perfect place for this,” Weyland says. “It’s a hot place with not enough places to swim.”

The Great Hall at MOCA will house 3 dumpster pools this summer for Tucsonans to enjoy during our hottest months.

The Great Hall at MOCA will house 3 dumpster pools this summer for Tucsonans to enjoy during our hottest months.

Beyond that, MOCA is an important place in Tucson, and despite the ongoing growth of Downtown, many Tucsonans have never heard of the museum. It’s located across from the TCC at 265 S. Church Ave., and operates Wednesday through Sunday from 12pm to 5pm. The public can access the pools this summer for the low cost of a MOCA membership, $2.50 a month for students and $4.00 for regular membership.

MOCA is going to do up their summer pool festivities with various Tucson-style features such as plaza screenings, live bands on the plaza, trapeze circus performances, food trucks, yoga and pilates classes, as well as displaying 6 exhibitions featuring 6 artists. Weyland believes that “development can happen by taking what you already have an making it more interesting” and he wants more visibility for MOCA. “When you try out bizarre ideas you never know where it will lead,” he says.

After the pools are done being used by fun-loving Tucsonans this summer, they will be auctioned off and will go on their way to unique destinations to serve those who love the idea of uniquely repurposed vessels that represent innovative thinking. According to Weyland, there are already offers being made for the pools, and they haven’t even arrived in Tucson yet.

See MOCA’s program guide for more about the summer program and the dumpster pools. One summer screening worth mentioning is happening on July 11, when local punk legends Texas Trash & the Trainwrecks will perform following a screening of Candy Apple, a film written and directed by Dean Dempsey and inspired by Tucson’s own Terry “Texas” Trash himself.

Mobile dumpster pools at MOCA might just be the most unique summer project ever seen in Downtown Tucson. It’s definitely worth checking out, and will be one trip to a museum that is sure to be cool and refreshing.