WaterMarks is an initiative to develop an inclusive and urban-scaled vision for the city of Milwaukee, designed to help its citizens better understand their relationships to the water systems and infrastructure that support that support their lives. This is envisioned as a multi-layered framework that can be implemented over time.
The project intention is to develop a dispersed series of projects, designed to engage citizens in varying capacities throughout the city, and in their own communities. Initial project interventions will be strategically embedded into the existing water fabric of the city, as catalysts to incrementally populate the city with further projects by other artists. Furthermore, a series of public programs, citywide initiatives and community events will be developed to further support the creation of a tangible, intimate understanding of and engagement with water.
The overall objective will be to increase water IQ throughout the City of Milwaukee to help create a new public narrative around water where citizens recognize water as resource and responsibility, vital to life as well as general well-being across the region.
The Project’s ‘CAll and Response’ Framework
CALL / City as Living Laboratory and Mary Miss aspire to engage Milwaukee citizens in varying capacities throughout the city, and in their own communities through a ‘Call and Response’ approach. Miss envisions physical WaterMarks elements--the Stack, the Markers and Mobile Markers—will each be a source of content but also invite a reply, addition of content or action.
The Stack is the icon for the project, visible from highways and many parts of the city. The Markers are permanent ‘stakes in the ground’ to establish points of ongoing programming and community engagement; Mobile Markers will continue to be used to engage new communities and identify future marker locations. Each of these rely on the strategy of ‘call and response’ to engage citizens.
Over time, WaterMarks will expand organically becoming larger and more diverse reflecting the ever-increasing depth and diversity of social and ecological connections.
How are we getting there?
A series of artists projects
Our artist and scientist facilitated programs are conceived to help citizens connect environmental challenges to personal experience and take action to find solutions for concrete improvements.
The WaterMarks project has conducted a series of walks throughout the city in which participants discuss how natural water systems have been altered over time, and examine past and present infrastructure, wildlife, industry, and future plans for green initiatives.
Recent WALKS locations include Walker’s Square and Brunham Canal areas, Harbor District to the School of Freshwater Sciences, and National Avenue and to Paliafito Eco-Arts Park.