Exhibit Alert, DC Area! Reclaiming the Edge

By Christina Catanese

Spending the holidays in the Washington, DC area?  Already checked out the National Christmas Tree and not sure what else to do with those holiday guests?  There is one celebratory exhibit you don’t want to miss.

Recently opened at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum (ACM), Reclaiming the Edge: Urban Waterways and Civic Engagementisan exhibition on the history, use, and attitudes towards urban waterways.  It was created in partnership between EPA,  watershed partners, and the ACM.

The exhibition focuses on the Anacostia River and its watershed, and how humans interact with this natural resource in an urban setting.  There are also examinations of how people engage with urban waters in other cities – including Shanghai, China; Pittsburgh, PA; Charleston, SC; Louisville, KY; Los Angeles, CA; and London, England – so we can share experiences in diverse geographies.

The exhibition includes an art installation created from trash and found objects which often find their way into urban waterways, historic boats used by Native Americans and contemporary fishermen, large-scale historic photographs of the watershed as the District of Columbia developed, and life-size cutouts of residents, community activists, and leaders in the watershed that tell the story of their connection and stewardship of the river.  And interactive portions of the exhibit will engage watershed residents of all ages and backgrounds.

There are also exciting events related to the exhibition, including art and nature workshops for students and teachers, community forums on various uses of the river, monthly films, and even water-inspired dance workshops. The diversity of these programs themselves is a testament to the potential of safe and clean urban waters, and the communities and activities they can inspire.

Even if the Anacostia is not your local river, it’s a perfect opportunity to consider how to re-imagine this urban river for community access and use.  Don’t miss the chance to learn about the history and current state of this watershed and how you can participate in its restoration and protection.

Not able to check out the exhibit during the holiday rush?  Don’t fret – it’s on display through September 2013, so there’s plenty of time.  Here’s how to get to the Anacostia Community Museum.

Let us know what you think of the exhibit if you check it out!  And tell us how you engage with and celebrate your urban waterways all year long.

About the Author: Christina Catanese has worked at EPA since 2010, in the Water Protection Division’s Office of Program Support. Originally from Pittsburgh, Christina has lived in Philadelphia since attending the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied Environmental Studies, Political Science, and Hydrogeology. When not in the office, Christina enjoys performing, choreographing and teaching modern dance.

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