Monday, October 26, 2009

Water Artist: Betsy Damon

We have been researching artists and scientists who are passionate about water issues for our upcoming Artposium, Wade in the Water, May 21-23, 2010. Last weekend I read Blue Gold by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke. That is, I read about two thirds. I fell under the spell of despair that can accompany a close look at any environmental problem. The facts are overwhelming and it seems like it's almost too late to do anything–aquifers are depleted or polluted, surface water is contaminated, paving has lead to less water retention, and greed is rampant. Whew.

Then Peggy (co-founder of Colorado Art Ranch, researcher, volunteer, spousal-unit) found Betsy Damon. Betsy is an artist whose work and life are a model for the artist as an agent of change. Her work usually involves cleaning or preserving water. She and a team put together an amazing project that addressed the polluted waters of Chengdu China by creating a park/sculpture that cleans the water. "Polluted river water moves through a natural, and artistic treatment system of ponds, filters and flowforms, making the process of cleaning water visible."

She has since founded Keepers of the Waters to help others around the world create similar projects on their polluted waters. Take a look at what they are doing.

This is the sort of thing that makes me see the shining sun, frost on the leaves, in a beautiful world. Now, if we can just get Betsy to be a speaker at Wade in the Water.

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