In conjunction with the installation of Edward Steichen’s In Exaltation of Flowers with Garber’s A Wooded Watershed from October 9, 2018 to April 14, 2019, the Michener Art Museum launched an innovative collaborative school based pilot outreach program in January 2019 in partnership with the environmental agency Heritage Conservancy, a community based non-profit land trust dedicated to preserving and protecting Bucks and Montgomery County’s natural resources and historic heritage.
This multidisciplinary program, A River Flows Through Art: A Catalyst for Change, combined the theme of nature in art with environmental science, engaging three schools in the region for five weeks in a mural based project where each student created an individual work of art to become part of a larger collective mural. A prominent unifying visual feature of this collaborative mural was “the (Delaware) river,” which is featured in Garber’s A Wooded Watershed. Over 140 students in grades 5-12 participated, from schools in close proximity to the Delaware – Morrisville High School in Morrisville, Strayer Middle School in Quakertown, and Thomas Holme School in Philadelphia.
Just as the Delaware River links communities from Lehigh County to Philadelphia, the student mural seen above merges the work produced at each school, and each student’s unique voice and individual vision of the river and its ecosystem, including their community as it is or as they wish it to be. When seen as a collective whole, their works convey a larger message of how art can raise awareness and engender change in helping protect our planet. This continues the grand tradition of murals as symbols and communication tools of the people and communities that create them.
Click on the individual images below to see each student work who participated in the program.