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The power of water

10:00 AM  Sep 23rd, 2009
by Julie Ramaccia ’10

Art, science and community. Eco-artist and artist-in-residence Betsy Damon believes combining these three elements can transform our water systems.

Damon’s fascination with water began in 1985, when she was making a paper cast of a dry riverbed in Castle Valley, Utah.

“I decided to give my life to learning water and trying to communicate water,” she said.

Damon has worked with communities to incorporate design and art into our water systems. Her projects show that certain designs create water movement that clean water and make it healthier. In 1991, she created a nonprofit organization called Keepers of the Waters.

Damon’s work has spanned cultures. In Chengdu, she worked with the Chinese government to create The Living Water Garden, in which polluted water is cleaned as it moves through various sculptures, aeration systems and ponds. The six-acre gardens provide members of the community a place to relax, enjoy nature and learn about the water-cleansing process. In 1998, Damon received the Top Honor Award from the Waterfront Center for the project in Chengdu.

“The planet is slowly dying,” she said. She believes that we can save it, but “water has to be what you plan first.”

Betsy Damon’s Keepers of the Waters exhibit is at ArtStreet through Oct. 8, 2009.

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