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In response to Waterville Creates’ 2018 call for Temporary Public Art related to the theme of the Kennebec River, artists throughout the New England region submitted their proposals for consideration. Three artists have been selected to install their work in the City of Waterville from June through September 2018.
Maggie Libby, Voices of the River: Maggie Libby’s public art project uses the Kennebec River theme as content for three 12-foot willow charcoal drawings on paper. Each section will portray a river theme: a glacial and geographical view of the river’s origin, a logging and factory view (factories which were economically beneficial to the area and also polluters of the river), and current view of the river and its environment.
Graphics will encourage audience participation including posing questions like “Do you have a flood or river story you’d like to share? Did you work in any of the factories along the river? What is your favorite spot on the Kennebec? How do you envision its future?” Libby will collect these stories for the duration of the project with the intention of producing a video that will be made available at Common Street Arts and later archived for future generations. Viewers will be asked to erase the drawings with pieces of recycled Hathaway shirts, and will be asked to share their vision for the river’s future over erasures of its past. The resulting ghost drawings and overlaid visions will be installed in storefront windows until the temporary exhibition ends.
Lisa Link, Word Wrap 2018: Link’s work is a new print series exploring the activism, history, and challenges surrounding the clean-up of the Kennebec River and her installation will be sited along a section of the Quarry Road Trails near Messalonskee Stream. Lisa Link’s photo-based work combines both contemporary and historic images layered with text gathered from research and personal interviews. Link’s work focuses on political and social issues and is grounded in community collaboration. Inspired by the people past and present who are committed to dramatically improving conditions for the Kennebec River, this project honors their stories and is intended to spark discussion of environmental issues, and “swimming upstream” in the face of new challenges to our nation’s waterways.
Jesse Salisbury, River Stone: River Stone is a sculptural piece created from a single 3-ton granite glacial erratic boulder similar in shape and surface texture to stones found in rivers that have been worn smooth by water, ice, and time. The approximately 6′ tall stone is split to create two halves of a large, oval, egg-shaped form which will create two seating spaces. The forms removed from the inside of the stone will fit together into a table that will be placed between the two seating areas. Rivers and rocks are often metaphors for time and change. Salisbury’s sculpture style mimics the effects of water and natural forces on stone, thus creating a sculptural still life of geological time. By dividing and manipulating the forms, he is making a space that people flow through and around, and thereby bringing a piece of the river into the center of town. River Stone will be installed in June 2018 in Castonguay Square.