Watershed Project

Public space/environmental art project along the Riverfront Trail

Posted by From the Confluence Partnership October 7, 2009

"Public Art & Ecology: A Watershed Project for The Confluence," aimed at the development of a public space/environmental art project along the Riverfront Trail at North Trailfront Park, kicked off September 24-27, with ecological artist Jackie Brookner delivered an inspiring lecture on the opening day. Titled "Water, Community, and the Being of Human," the talk was sponsored by the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University and set the tone for the rest of the three-day planning session with its theme of connectivity.

In her work, Brookner works collaboratively with ecologists, design professionals, hydrologists, engineers, communities, and policy makers on water remediation/public art projects, in the United States and abroad. Her projects demonstrate how the undervalued resources of storm water and other polluted water can be reclaimed and used to create lush environments, expressive and multifunctional public spaces.

After her lecture, Brookner had the opportunity to tour the St. Louis Riverfront and learn about the area from agency experts during the second day of the planning session. This information laid the groundwork for a public workshop at North Riverfront Park the following day. Brookner and Rick Kacenski from HOK worked with 45 neighborhood residents, graduate students from Washington University, apprentices with St. Louis ArtWorks, and other interested citizens to develop a conceptual plan for the watershed project. The workshop was focused on gaining an understanding of the history of the park, how it is currently used, and how the community envisions its transformation over the next 10 years.

Sarah Anne Patz led the group through a movement exercise to explore their own physical connections to the Mississippi River. The group then spent the afternoon at the William A. Kerr Foundation discussing their experience of the site and their goals for the project. The following day, Brookner and Kacenski worked with the WUSTL graduate students to further refine the goals for the project. They are acting as the eyes, ears and hands of the community group. Check out photos of the weekend on Flickr

The goal of the Confluence Partnership is to involve community members in a meaningful and hands-on way in the development of the design for the project, to create a more vibrant riverside that enriches the community experience. All are invited to attend two upcoming events with Brookner to help shape the concepts:

Saturday, October 24, 2:00-4:00p, Design Review
Washington University
Givens Hall, Kemp Auditorium, and Rooms 117 and 118

Saturday, November 21, 2:00-4:00p, Final Design Presentation
Washington University
Steinberg Hall, Gallery Exhibit Room

If you have questions about the project or related events, contact Laura Cohen, Confluence Partnership Director, at lauracohen@trailnet.org or 314-436-1324 ext. 108.