Massive, inspirational, public participation art installation to be celebrated in Brattleboro

The Power of Water / The Power of Words describes the future of the Connecticut River


Andrew Fisk, CRC  413-210-9207 /

Christine Destrempes, Art & Dialogue 603-827-3744 /

Brattleboro – On Thursday September 29th from 5:30 to 7:00 the River Garden (157 Main Street) will host a lively and informative free public celebration of The Power of Water / The Power of Words.  This joint project of the Connecticut River Watershed Council and Art & Dialogue has been collecting the public’s aspirations for the future of the Connecticut River.  Because five hydropower facilities that stretch from Montague, MA to Wilder, VT are currently being relicensed the public has a unique opportunity to have a say in how these facilities will be operated for several generations.  Hydropower facilities on the Connecticut River generate renewable energy but also significantly impact migratory fish passage, habitat for many species including endangered short nose sturgeon, as well as causing significant erosion of riverbanks along the 200 miles impacted by these five facilities.  Hydropower facilities also impact recreational opportunities in many ways – positive and negative.

The evening’s free public event will include music, food, short talks by representatives of the Vermont Arts Council, Windham Regional Commission, the VT Commission on Native American Affairs, and local artists.  The event is a celebration of the first of several planned installations, with the next installation scheduled for March 2017 at the Vermont State House in Montpelier.

“We have a goal to collect 1,000 of the public’s answers to what they want their river to be over the next 40 to 50 years.  We are over halfway there, and these thoughts and aspirations have been assembled into a dramatic river of words,” noted Andrew Fisk, CRC Executive Director.

The installation currently at the River Garden includes over 500 comments penned by people from age 7 to 97 that were collected over the last 18 months at schools, community centers, libraries, and retirement communities throughout the region.

Christine Destrempes, founder and director of Art & Dialogue, a Harrisville, NH organization has worked on public participation art projects with similar large-scale installations around the country.  She notes that “using art to empower the public and affect the future of the Connecticut River engages the hearts and minds of both the participants and decision makers resulting in our messages being felt as well as heard.”

“This project will influence the outcome of this important relicensing in ways that emails, petitions, or comment letters cannot,” noted Fisk, “we hope this project will capture the attention of state and local decision makers in important new ways.”

FMI on this hydropower relicensing

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