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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Lily Gouin
Lily Gouin
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Hi! My name is Lily Gouin I am in my third year here at NMU. I am from Appleton, WI majoring in communications and double minoring in multimedia journalism and public relations. In my free time, I like...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Artist duo celebrates water

MAKING CHANGE—Jordan Matterella stands with Ian Parkkonen, project leader for the planting of 500 cedar trees on behalf of the Interfaith Water Stewards in the summer of 2018.

October brings a new environmental art exhibit to Marquette, with “Water Rising,” a husband and wife project, on display at the Arts and Culture Center from Oct. 1-30. The exhibition is free and open to the public. 

The artist duo began the project as an art book combining themed watercolors and environmentally-focused poetry, according to their website. 

The book will be sold during the exhibition, and all proceeds will be donated to the Superior Watershed Partnership. 

The art project has since grown from just a book to include video, music and spoken word components, as well as many installations around the globe, according to their website. 

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The project in Marquette will include an artists-in-residence period of five days, during which poet and author Lelia Philip and visual artist Garth Evans will hold workshops and talks related to their exhibition.

Four of their artist events will be hosted by NMU. Philips will hold an author reading on Oct. 16 which will be open to the public. Evans will conduct a public lecture at NMU entitled “Cardiff: An Encounter with the Public and Some Consequences,” which focuses on a controvertial sculpture made to be displayed in a public place in Cardiff, Wales. 

There will also be two events which are for NMU students only. These include an artist writing workshop with Philip at 4 p.m. on Oct. 16 and a sculpture workshop by Evans at 9 a.m. on Oct. 17.

The exhibition was brought into Marquette as a result of the collaboration of environmental organizations in the U.P. including the Interfaith Northern Great Lakes Water Stewards, the Superior Watershed Partnership and the Cedar Tree Institute (CTI). 

The project’s grant was written by event organizer Pasqua Wastler of the Bonifas Arts Center.

Organizations like the CTI bring artists into the community in order to raise awareness about specific environmental issues, such as the preservation of water resources. The insititute will hold a presentation titled “The Gift of Water” as a part of the Water Rising project at 10 a.m. on Oct. 19 at the Presque Isle Pavilion.

SPREADING KNOWLEDGE—Jordan Matterella speaks during an NMU presentation last spring organized by the student chapter of the Cedar Tree Institute. “The Gift of Water” featured guests from the Native American community. Similar talks will be a component of the upcoming exhibition “Water Rising.”

“I think [bringing in artists] just helps people take [activism] more seriously when there’s a professional person coming in,” junior environmental science major and CTI volunteer Kaitlin Shepherd said. “It motivates people to act.”

Shepherd joined the institute last fall and has since worked with the watershed for events, including bringing pastors from Flint to speak about the municipal lead water crisis there.

“We do the work, we do things that make big differences, like water tests to know how clean our water is, or planting a bunch of cedar trees to purify or filter our waters, stream clean-ups and things like that. Little things. But our main thing with our events is to get someone to shift someone’s perspective and raise consciousness through their knowledge,” NMU alum and CTI Water Steward Coordinator Jordan Matarella said.

Matarella will speak during the event at Presque Isle.

The CTI includes a student chapter at NMU called the Interfaith Water Stewards. This permits the institute to have opportunities to use spaces at NMU and present speakers on the topic of water stewardship. 

The institute focuses on bringing guests for both student and public events.

“Most environmental groups are science-based or nature-based, but this is a group that has a spiritual element to it,” zen Buddhist priest and CTI collaborator Paul Lehmberg said. “I think that’s what makes us a little different.”

As result of this spiritual base, the institute seeks to focus on the influence of art to make changes in awareness, CTI President and founder Jon Magnuson said.

“Part of this group is, we not only bring people here and try to raise consciousness, deepen appreciation for the gift of water. In many of these events, that’s what we seek to do, but we also do some practical things too and try to educate ourselves about water,” Magnuson said.

Another collaborator in the “Water Rising” event includes the new Fresh Coast Film Festival, the first documentary film festival to celebrate the unique Great Lakes area, according to their brochure. 

The diverse Water Rising exhibit includes not only the installation at the Arts and Culture Center, but also a film screening of “Environment, Memory and Things” at 2 p.m. on Oct. 19 at the Masonic Square Mall. A Fresh Coast Film Festival pass is required for public entry.

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