News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 27, 2012

Year of the River project to feature artwork along riverbank

2013 Big Read to be ‘Tom Sawyer’

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — By this time next year, you will be able to stand on a spacious platform of colorful artwork while gazing upon the glimmering waters of the Wabash River a few yards away.

That’s thanks to Watermark, a group of area artists participating in efforts to celebrate 2013 as “The Year of the River.”

The 16 artists of Watermark are each designing stepping stones that will make up an approximately 12-by-15-foot concrete and stone platform on the east bank of the river in Fairbanks Park. The platform, which will include 30 stones, each measuring 2 feet by 2 feet, will be west of the playground in the park and will also feature a pathway and an educational marker.

The stones will feature art related to the river, said Petra Nyendick, founder of Watermark and director of the Indiana State University Community School of the Arts.

“We love what we’re doing,” Nyendick said of the artists designing the stones. The stones will feature plants and animals living on the river, historic river industries, steam boats, people fishing on the river and more.

The Watermark project is just one of dozens being planned for The Year of the River. And Watermark was one of dozens of groups represented at a planning meeting Thursday morning at the Vigo County Public Library.

Other groups taking part in the Year of the River celebrations include the Indiana Department of Natural Resources; various departments and entities at Indiana State University; Joe’s Airboats, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute; St. Mary-of-the-Woods College; Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology; the Swope Art Museum; the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra; the Terre Haute Community Band; the Vigo County Public Library; the Riverscape group; and the Wabash Valley Roadrunners.

The Year of the River project was launched by Mary Kramer of Art Spaces, Inc., Jon Robeson of Arts Illiana and Steve Letsinger of Rose-Hulman. They coordinated Thursday’s meeting.

While many Year of the River events are still in the early planning stages, some events are already set. Those include concerts by the Terre Haute Symphony and the community band, several exhibits at the Swope Art Museum, the library’s Big Read featuring Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer” and a midnight run by the Wabash Valley Roadrunners in Fairbanks Park.

Other proposed events for 2013 include a rock music festival at Fairbanks Park, a possible bluegrass festival and visits to native American burial mounds near the river to the south of the city.

In October, the Year of the River website should be up and running and organizers will be seeking sponsorships. MillerWhite Marketing has already donated generously by designing the group’s website, Kramer noted.

“I loved the variety of things” discussed at Thursday’s planning meeting, Kramer said. “We’re on the right track.”

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or