Thursday, August 11, 2016

"We Are Water" draws a diverse crowd to Bradford Beach to celebrate Milwaukee's waters

There was music, poetry, puppetry, art and invocations of the spirit on Bradford Beach last Sunday evening. It was the third in what has become an annual event called "We Are Water" organized by the Milwaukee Water Commons. Billed as a "celebration of Milwaukee's waters," the event has become a mini-arts festival as well as a meditation on the importance of water to Milwaukee and all life on earth.

Jahmes Finlayson and Dena Aronson got things going with some lively drumming... well as a ritual libation: reflections on water and life while pouring Lake Michigan water onto the sand.

True Skool entertained the crowd with a rap about water.

Three young artists with Still Waters Collective gave an impassioned spoken word performance.

Off to the side of the beach members of Exfabula set up a roving interview station and recorded water stories told to them by volunteers from the audience.

Margaret Ann Noodin, faculty member at UWM, gave everyone a lesson in Ojibwe... member of the Overpass Light Brigade, with help from the audience, spelled out Ojibwe words for water and water-related terms. Jiibigiig means "at the beach," or "along the shore."

Puppeteers got into the act with LED-illuminated figures of a heron and several accurately depicted species of fish native to Wisconsin waters. Mookiibii means "emerge from the water."

The event culminated in an audience-participation creation of a peace sign with lighted cups of water, directed by artist-in-residence Melanie Ariens.

This is the short version of the story. To see many more photos of the event go to my Flickr album.

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