Betsy Damon: Art and Water

Workshop: The River and Art: One Voice

What: Workshop: The River and Art: One Voice
When: April 5, 2018, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Where: 14 Riverside Drive in the River Arts District

Betsy will be facilitating a visioning workshop to discuss and brainstorm about possible public art relating to the French Broad River watershed to be installed in the vicinity of 14 Riverside Drive. This event is free and open to the public.

Public Talk: The People's Water: Stewardship through Art

What: Public Talk: The People's Water: Stewardship through Art
When: April 5, 2018, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Mountain View Room, Sherrill Center

Betsy will invite to you into water, with images from her 35 years of working with and for water, including The Living Water Garden in Chengdu, China, and the Living Waters of Larimer in Pittsburgh, PA. This event is free and open to the public.

About Betsy Damon:

For 35 years Betsy Damon has committed herself – as an artist, a community organizer, a designer, and a writer – to water in all its complexity. She is a practical visionary, an acclaimed artist, a familiar name in art schools and internationally known, especially for her work in China. The integration of art and science together with her ability to work in community gives her a depth of collaborative experience. Her work embraces both a knowledge of water molecular movement and the practical aspects of planning and design for resilience and complexity

A seminal feminist she formed the first university class for women artists at Cornell University In 1976. Her street performance piece, the 7000-year-old-women, became world renowned and for 10 years she directed large events in the US and Europe. Perceiving  a need for women to support each other, she started No Limits for Women Artists, a national organization (1980-2000). 

While casting the funded work, A Memory of Clean Water, a 250-foot cast of the dry river in 1985, Betsy realized that she knew nothing about water; she decided to dedicate herself to water. In 1991 she wrote, “Water is the foundation of life and must be the foundation of planning and design." This radical statement initiated the next 25 years of her life: all lecture and teaching focused on water art and activism. Two weeks of water protection, performances, and sculptures for water in Chengdu led to Betsy designing the first inner city park that is a water cleaning project. 

Widely published and awarded the UN Habitat ASLA, water is front and center, and in others Betsy's work is still evolving. A book, The People’s Water, is completed. Numerous current projects include the cleaning of the half-life radioactive tailings in the Cheyenne River and mapping with communities in the Ballona Watershed (Sourthern California) to create a plan for resilience and complexity.

Published by the Department of Art and Art History as a courtesy to Environmental Studies.