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River Runs Through Us

Rivers Run Through Us is an ongoing community engagement project that utilizes art to change minds, hearts and actions about water, rivers and river restoration.

 

Our focus is the Rio Grande and the Santa Fe River.

 

Founding members of the Rivers Run Through Us artist team are Bobbe Besold, artivist, Dominique Mazeaud, eco-artist, and Valerie Martínez, collaborative artist and Founding Director of Artful Life.   Besold and Mazeaud continue coordinating the project in Santa Fe while Martinez is developing project work along the Rio Grande in Albuquerque.

More information is below and at the RRTU website.

 

In 2007, the Santa Fe River was named the most endangered river in the United States (American Rivers). In the first year of the project, the artist team walked the 54 mile length of the river from the Upper Watershed (closed to the public since 1927) to the confluence at the Rio Grande. This rigorous 5 day/4 night pilgrimage served as a deep experience of and homage to the river’s beauty, diversity, and endangerment.  Along the way residents, farmers, artists, scientists, school groups and others met us at the riverbank with art, water/science projects and celebrations.​

Year One (Nov. 2011-May 2012)

  • Project artists Bobbe Besold, Valerie Martínez and Dominique Mazeaud spent 6 months interviewing those who live along the river--educators, city officials, environmentalists, artists, river-enthusiasts, ranchers, youth, farmers, tribal officials, Pueblo community members, and others. Our goal was to begin understand the Santa Fe River and the people who live there as an interconnected and mutually dependent system.

  • In May, 2012, the team walked the 54 mile length of the river from the Upper Watershed (closed to the public since 1927) to the confluence at the Rio Grande. This rigorous 5 day/4 night pilgrimage served as a deep experience of and homage to the river’s beauty, diversity, and endangerment.

  • The walk also served as a unique community gathering experience--bringing students, educators, youth, families, adults, elders and others to the river. There were storytellers, art installations, community choir performances, river banners, schools of “river fish,” puppeteers, and other forms of river art and engagement. 

Year Two (June 2012-May 2013)

The team:

  • completed a ten minute documentary film about the river and the May 2012 walk.

  • continued to form partnerships with a wide range of individuals and organizations working on behalf of the river.

  • continued community outreach--listening, recording stories, offering talks and workshops at universities, high schools, elementary schools and for organizations like Amigos Bravos, as well as initiating community gatherings.

  • presented an exciting series of events along the river from May 15-21, 2013 entitled “One River.” This five site “performance” consisted of five days of collaborative art, science and community engagement (visual art, poetry, performances, lectures, hikes, ceremonies, and more) at the Randall Davey Audubon Center/Nature Conservancy site, the New Mexico School for the Arts/Bishop’s Pond/Rio Chiquito, San Isidro Crossing, La Bajada Village, and Cochiti Pueblo at the Rio Grande.

Year Three (June 2013-May 2015)

The team:

  • engaged the community in the creation and installation of “Dreaming Water Houses”. These beautiful “signposts”—designed by the Rivers artist team, built and sponsored by individuals, organizations, schools and businesses—feature poetry, water declarations, information about rivers and water, and more. The Houses were temporarily installed along the river on May 17, encouraged residents and visitors to gather at the river--pause and reflect--and consider the sacred importance of working on its behalf.

  • continued public outreach/education activities—walking the river, gathering stories and testimonials--ls, disseminating information, facilitating workshops (including those that train sponsors to care for their site at the river.

  • coordinated meetings and gatherings between individuals and organizations working on behalf of the river, supporting collaborative initiatives and sensitive and inclusive dialogue around competing interests.

Year Four (May 2015-present)

  • The Santa Fe Team (Besold and Mazeaud) are currently in the process of permanently installing "Dreaming Water Houses" along the SF River while continuing outreach and coordination activities. 

  • The Albuquerque Team is in the development phase of projects along the Rio Grande in Albuquerque.

Santa Fe sponsors are WildEarth Guardians, The Santa Fe Watershed Association, Littleglobe, Randall Davey Audubon Center and Sanctuary, the Santa Fe Art Institute, Amigos Bravos, the Center for Contemporary Arts, and the Western Hardrock Watershed Team.

For more information and/or to collaboration, please contact us.