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With three rivers—the Milwaukee, Kinnickinnic, and Menomonee—and a Great Lake, water plays a key role in Milwaukee’s history, identity, and economy. WaterMarks: An Atlas of Water and City of Milwaukee is a city-wide public art project developed by artist Mary Miss that invites the citizens of Milwaukee to explore and understand the water systems supporting their lives. Miss' socially engaged art practice and methodology, known as City as Living Laboratory (CALL), utilizes art installation to call attention to issues related to social, cultural, and environmental sustainability. The physical manifestation of the WaterMarks project—a multi-layered and urban-scaled atlas—will be developed over time as part of an inclusive citizen- focused process. Click here for a full description, including designs, of the WaterMarks project.
Below is a short video describing the project.
In 2016 the Haggerty Museum of Art received funding from Marquette University’s Strategic Innovation Fund to work with Mary Miss and CALL to advance WaterMarks from a general concept to a detailed, final plan. Thanks to a $146,404 Community Catalyst grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, during the 2017-19 period the Haggerty is activating key nodes in the WaterMarks atlas through a series of interdisciplinary neighborhood walks and workshops developed in collaboration with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) School of Freshwater Sciences, the Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers, and the United Community Center’s Acosta Middle School. These programmatic interventions will engage citizens in conversation with artists and scientists about water issues, infrastructure, and conservation—viewing the connections between ourselves, the land, the lake, and the rivers through the unique perspective of the arts.
Go here for a blog documenting the progress of the Haggerty’s Museum of Art’s IMLS-funded WaterMarks programs.