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June 24, 2013

Citizens ‘Step Up’ collaborative art project

Watermark Landing dedicated at Fairbanks Park

TERRE HAUTE — What began as a vision months ago became reality Sunday.

Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett joined artists, sponsors and community members at Fairbanks Park for the dedication of Watermark Landing, a collaborative art installation project celebrating “The Year of the River.”

“This is another great example of people in the community collaborating,” Bennett told The Tribune-Star.

He went on to say how amazing it is to see people in the community “step up” for projects such as the Watermark Landing, which he said is a great addition to Fairbanks Park.

Step up, in fact, for a stepping stone pathway a few feet from the Wabash River.   

Speaking to the crowd, Bennett said the addition will draw people to the underutilized park. He also spoke of his appreciation of the people involved.

“Just to watch how … people would just volunteer, come up with ideas, and turn it into reality like this is totally amazing,” he said.

“On behalf of the city, we greatly appreciate your investment and your commitment to Terre Haute,” he concluded.

After the mayor’s remarks, members of Watermark, a group of 16 artists who got together for the project, spoke about the project’s beginnings and process.

The project started after Petra Nyendick invited a group of artists to her home in early 2012 to discuss how they could contribute to the “Year of the River” initiative.

The result of a year and a half of community effort is 30 colorful stepping stones — designed and built by Watermark members.

At the dedication, Nyendick, introduced the members of the group and thanked everyone involved.

“This is not an art project with 16 members. It’s a community project,” she said to the crowd.

She thanked the project’s 13 sponsors, among them the Wabash River Heritage Corridor Commission and Garmong Construction Services.  

“Each sponsor is integral to our project,” Nyendick said.

Equally important are Watermark members who turned a vision into reality.

Edie Richards, an artist who worked on two of the 30 stepping stones, spoke of her delight that people have come to view the finished product.

“It’s wonderful to have another permanent installation in Terre Haute,” Richards said.

Her husband and fellow member, Zac Chambers, sat beside her at the dedication.

“It was a new experience for me,” Chambers said of being part of the project. But looking back, it was the “best experience I had.”

It was a also great experience for Nyendick.

“I’m just excited to finally accomplish this,” she said.

The community got together for a common cause: to raise awareness about the Wabash River.

“We wanted people to see the river,” Nyendick said.

Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or dianne.powell@tribstar.com.

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