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September Gallery: The Power of Water, the Power of Words

September Gallery: The Power of Water, the Power of Words

SEPT GALLERYThis public-participation, community art project tells a thousand stories to make the Connecticut River cleaner and greener.

What do our rivers mean to you? The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is relicensing five hydroelectric facilities on the Connecticut River. The Connecticut River Watershed Council has been gathering your river stories and your hopes and dreams for the future of our rivers. Now your comments have been transformed into a massive and inspiring community art installation to have a say for your rivers. You can see this ‘river of words’ displayed for the first time at the River Garden in Brattleboro, VT during September, 2016.

At the Gallery at the Garden for the month of September, visit this installation by the Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) and Art for Water — a massive and inspiring public participation art installation that will influence how these five hydropower projects affecting 200 miles of the Connecticut River will operate for the next 40 to 50 years. Everyone of all ages is welcome to learn about the important and engaging issues around hydroelectric power and to add a comment.

Opening celebration: Friday, Sept. 2 during Gallery Walk from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Normal hours: Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (except during special events).

There is also a special event on Thursday, September 29, 2016 from 5:30-7 p.m.. CRWC will feature a brief talk on our project and refreshments will be served.

The Connecticut River Watershed Council is working with River of Words Along the Connecticut River, and Art for Water to gather personal narratives about New England’s longest river through the Stream of Conscience art project. Using visual questioning strategies, we engage the public in a dialogue about their relationship to the Connecticut River and what the river means to them, their communities, and their families.

As owners of our rivers, citizens have a say in how hydroelectric facilities will be operated, how negative impacts on the river can be improved, and how renewable energy be made more sustainable. In the fall of 2012, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission began the relicensing for five hydroelectric facilities in northern Massachusetts and southern Vermont that produce over 30 percent of hydropower generation in New England and affect more than 175 miles of the Connecticut River from north of Hanover, New Hampshire to the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts. The relicensing includes dams at Wilder, Bellows Falls and Vernon in Vermont, Turners Falls Dam and the Northfield Mountain Pump Storage Project in northern Massachusetts. With each license lasting 30 to 40 years, decisions made in 2018 have an impact over a generation.

The Stream of Conscience, a monumental, community-created art installation, is a conduit for providing input to the State and Federal government as they make decisions about how these dams will operate over the next 30 to 40 years. The Stream is made of torn pieces of cover-weight paper on which participants write their aspirations, thoughts, and feelings about their river. The individual pieces of paper with participant’s river stories are then used to build a site-specific art installation of a river, which will be created at the culmination of the project. We provide all the materials and the completed paper fragments belong to the Stream of Conscience project. Individual voices will join hundreds of others of all ages to have a direct influence on state and federal decision makers.

The Power of Water / The Power of Words is supported by a generous grant from the Putnam Foundation. CRWC is proud to partner with Christine Destrempes and Art for Water on this project.

Invite CRWC to bring this FREE presentation to your group. You’ll learn all about the relicensing and have a chance to submit your piece of art and official public comment on what you want for your rivers. For more information, contact Colleen Bent, at cbent@ctriver.org or 413-772-2020 ext.206.