Building Awareness of Water Rights
“I believe art is the perfect tool for […] changing the way we think about water use,” says new graduate Kate Aitchison MFA 16 PR, who has won a 2016–17 residency from the Santa Fe (NM) Art Institute (SFAI). “Visual imagery,” she continues, “eclipses language, cultures and policies to invoke a stirring of emotion that connects people to place and to each other.”
In winning the residency, Aitchison has the opportunity to return to the Colorado River area where she grew up and where she worked for the US Geological Survey last summer as a RISD/Maharam STEAM Fellow in Applied Art and Design.
An experienced boater and river guide, the newly minted MFA grad in Printmaking plans to construct a dory from carved plywood that she will also use for making relief prints, and then row the boat through the Grand Canyon. She envisions the hull of the vessel as a visually intriguing place to display prints that represent the complex role of water in the Colorado River ecosystem.
Aitchison sees the SFAI residency as an opportunity to connect her art and her environmental advocacy in a more direct way than ever before. She’s hoping the boat will be “a synthesis of art and craft, of science and storytelling [with] the potential to change the way people look at and think about how waterways are managed.”
Maharam STEAM Fellow Kate Aitchison MFA 16 PR pursues projects that combine art and science for the good of the natural world.
Working with nonprofits and governmental agencies, RISD’s Maharam STEAM fellows are applying critical thinking to issues well beyond the world of art and design.
Now that they have won Fulbrights for the 2016–17 academic year, Miri Kim 16 PT and Midge Wattles 12 PH plan to take full advantage of exciting cross-cultural exchanges.