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Mississippi River Strongly Associated with “Joy” in New Collaborative Art Project

July 28, 2010Patrick NunnallyRivers, UncategorizedComments Off on Mississippi River Strongly Associated with “Joy” in New Collaborative Art Project

University of Minnesota Landscape Architecture professor Rebecca Krinke has created a new, collaborative art work Unseen/Seen:  The Mapping of Joy and Pain that offers the public a chance to mark, on a wooden tabletop map of the Twin Cities, places where they have experienced joy and where they have experienced pain.

Not surprisingly to a river guy like me, the first installation of the project last Friday in Minneapolis showed the Mississippi River heavily in the “joy” camp.

A more complete description, along with photographs and a blog, can be found here.

To me, the project raises interesting policy and programming questions:

How can the joyful experiences people have with the river be made part of programming and funding considerations?  If this (admittedly unscientific0 survey shows that the river has such strongly positive associations, shouldn’t that count for something?

What other possibilities can be derived to explore the connections between people and the river?  Krinke’s project features a videographer capturing some peoples’ thoughts as they mark the map; are there ways those reflections can be made more widespread?

Can riverfront agencies such as the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, the Minneapolis Riverfront Corporation, the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, or the St. Paul Riverfront Corporation work with artists such as Krinke in further engaging the public and giving public voices to river issues, here and elsewhere?

To be fair, the Minneapolis Park Board has strongly supported Krinke’s work by making available park space at several parks along the Mississippi for the installations.

Krinke has ambitious expansion plans, but in the short term, Twin Cities residents can participate in two additional installations this summer:

Saturday, July 31:
Gluek Riverfront Park: 3-7 PM

Friday, August 6:
Minnehaha Falls: 3-7 PM

Additional parks/dates are in the planning stage. See for updates.

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A joint project of River Life, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the University of Minnesota Libraries, Open Rivers is an interdisciplinary online journal that recognizes the Mississippi River as a space for timely and critical conversations about people, community, water, and place.