February 18, 2011
The Dream of a River
Chinook Bend Natural Enhancement Project
In the quiet, small town of Carnation in rural western Washington, is a 59 acre King County natural resource park. This area is actively returning, through hard work and determination, to its natural state. Framed by the Cascade foothills and the Snoqualmie River, its beauty is unassuming and simple, yet majestic and profound. The Snoqualmie River, whose elegant and dramatic ox bows define one edge of the land, create an ever changing waterscape of eddies, swirls, shallow and deep water where salmon spawn. Snails and slugs, trout and salmon, fox and deer, osprey and eagles share the landscape. As a former pastureland for Carnation Dairy, it is now regaining its bio-dynamic wildness by the removal of river levees, canary grass, and by creating an ideal environment for wetlands and plantings of native vegetation.
The opportunity to enhance the park was driven by the construction of a new wastewater treatment facility. The effluent from the treatment plant flows into the newly created wetlands. Betsy was selected by 4Culture to create artwork in celebration of the beauty and power of the water flowing throughout the site. The artwork was partially funded through the King County Percent for Art Program. Lonnie Feather worked tirelessly as an assistant and produced the cast glass elements for Betsy Damon.
“Water Revealed” is comprised of three pieces -- a Living Water Compass, a Pole to Measure Floods and Seating Stones. All articulate aspects of the site.
The ‘Living Water Compass,’ a low relief image of a magnified water drop carved in granite, is sited in the moist ground next to a pond. At the edge of the carving is a quote by Betsy: “The dream of a river is to run free and be fully alive.” And embedded in each cardinal point of the sculpture are deep, blue-green, glass discs of the directions “N,” “S,” “E,” “W.”
The Pole to Measure Floods was designed with the intent of magnifying the site’s intention to return it to its natural cycle of rising and falling waters. Six granite beads and six cast glass beads - ranging in brilliant sunrise colors of deep red to gold/yellow - are strung along a 24’ pole crowned with a raptor’s roost. This pole can be seen from a distance and serves as a marker for visitors to enhance their understanding of the site’s natural water cycles.
Near the parking lot are the Seating Stones. Visitors can enjoy a majestic view of the pond and the Cascade Range in the distance. Created from local glacial boulders, the stones are etched with natural imagery and the words “REVERE,” “REVEAL,” and “RESTORE.”
“In collaboration with many who held a vision of not only restoration but revitalization of this area, I sought to honor the increasing bio-dynamism when the river runs free and the true complexity of a bio system is restored. These three pieces express what is happening in the Chinook Bend Natural area where nature is revealed, restored and revered – such is the power, magic and mystery of living waters.”
Other News from Betsy
EcoArt Treasure Coast
The impetuous desire to be an eco-artist is a desire to join in as a creator for creation. The one imperative is to do no harm to biological systems or fellow humans. One tree, one composting toilet, one garden, one action at a time adds up to a magnificent plurality of activity. Aesthetics will emerge with new ideas, visions and images. At times this may be messy, but it is revolutionary in its cooperative nature - and perhaps unstoppable in essence.
The above all applies for the yearlong process that I was a mentor artist for the EcoArt Treasure Coast project in Stuart, Florida.
The project culminated December 2010 with an exhibition of the participating eco artists. “Living on the Edge” demonstrated each artist’s response to the four key elements of an ecoart work: community engagement, basis in science, aesthetic interest, and impact on an environmental problem. Gail Kosowski, Jesse Etelson, Brenda Leigh, Mary Segal, Jennifer Sylvia and Jamie Powell. They created works ranging from riparian habitat to community gardens, from rainwater harvesting to floating islands for habitat, and from shore revitalization to an educational campaign about plastic.
They were nominated for a Keep America Beautiful 2011 Environmental Stewardship Award! Congratulations!
To see more about this project please visit:
Check out the beautiful publication of Water/Craft with an article about Betsy and Keepers of the Waters. It’s available at Amazon.com for $19.99
Water/craft is a collection of essays that look at urban and regional water issues and new design approaches. The impetus for this volume was the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative's experiences in working with the volatile urban situation of Cleveland; a fragile economy, aging infrastructure and damaged ecosystem. Within this context, water plays a critical role in revitalization efforts for the region. Water/Craft highlights water-related best practices, particularly about water infrastructure made visible as a form-giver and a design driver. Betsy’s article is a wonderful presentation of her work from the Living Water Garden in Chengdu, China, to her research in Tibet of sacred water sites.
University of Wisconsin Watershed Exhibit
It was particularly wonderful to be invited back to the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee as a keynote speaker for an exhibition about their watershed. Three years ago I was invited by artist/activist Nicolas Lampert to speak. He and others took to heart my invitation to become activists for water. Nicolas joined with Raoul Deal, and they invited 12 artists to create artworks in the community that prompted inspiring dialogue and increased activism.
The area of Milwaukee is one of the major upland sites for the Midwest. These waters nourish thousands of downstream communities. But, there were plans for the development of extraction industries and (ironically) water bottling plants. Citizens would not stand for the privatization of their water sources and voted down the harmful projects.
“This is one of the most comprehensive and inclusive exhibitions on water that I have seen. It is informed, active, real and dynamic.”
To see more, visit: http://watershedmke.wordpress.com/blog/
Betsy Presented at University of North Carolina
November 14, 2016
Betsy Speaks at the 10th INTECOL Wetlands Conference, Changshu China
February 28, 2016
Betsy at the UN: The Power of Collaboration
January 05, 2016
A Wall: Socially Engaged Art from Greater China
November 25, 2015
Water: Elemental, Mutable, Essential
November 20, 2015
Healing Power of Art
October 08, 2015
Documentation of Betsy Damon's talks in Logan Utah
August 20, 2015
Website for Living Waters of Larimer
July 20, 2015
ArtPlace Grant for Living Waters of Larimer
March 03, 2015
Living Water of Larimer Workshops
February 15, 2015
January 28, 2015
Press for Living Waters of Larimer
December 16, 2014
2015 Fundraiser - Original Prints from Betsy Damon
November 01, 2014
Betsy at the International Water Conference
August 18, 2014
The Keepers Board Convenes
June 01, 2014
Water, Water Everywhere
February 10, 2012
It's About Water
October 30, 2011
September 28, 2011
Newsletter from China
April 28, 2011
October 11, 2010
An Amazing Model for Clean Rivers and Sustainability by Lonnie Feather
May 14, 2010
News from Betsy Damon and Keepers of the Waters – May 2010
December 30, 2009
Happy New Year (To Be Alive is to Have Water)
December 06, 2009
Composting toilet as a holiday gift?
August 13, 2009
reSources: Saving Living Systems (A report fromTibet/China)
June 30, 2009
reSources: Saving Living Systems (Hello Dear Friends)
June 02, 2009
"reSources: Saving Living Systems"
September 15, 2008
Update from China, September 15th
September 06, 2008
Great news from Keepers of the Waters and Betsy
August 19, 2008
Betsy Leaving For China
January 12, 2008
News and Projects
November 21, 2007
We Could Have Such a Beautiful World
December 18, 2006
Water - The Link in Our Life
June 24, 2006
May 23, 2006
Betsy in China
November 03, 2003
Water Exploratoriums in Oregon, Public Art in Beijing
August 30, 2003
Volunteer Opportunities in China
June 30, 2003
New Keepers of the Waters Online Network up!
June 30, 2003
Edwards Aquifer Park Design
June 30, 2003
Water and Art Exploratorium at elementary school
June 30, 2003
News from China