WaterMarks is an initiative to develop an inclusive and urban-scaled vision for the city of Milwaukee, designed to help its citizens better understand their relationships to the water systems and infrastructure that support that support their lives. This is envisioned as a multi-layered framework that can be implemented over time.
The project’s intention is to develop a dispersed series of projects, designed to engage citizens in varying capacities throughout the city, and in their own communities. Initial project interventions will be strategically embedded into the existing water fabric of the city, as catalysts to incrementally populate the city with further projects by other artists. Furthermore, a series of public programs, citywide initiatives and community events will be developed to further support the creation of a tangible, intimate understanding of and engagement with water.
There are a series of elements—the 350’ Jones Island stack, vertical markers, mobile markers and an App. The stack is the icon for the project, visible from highways and many parts of the city. The markers are permanent ‘stakes in the ground’ to establish points of ongoing programming and community engagement; mobile markers will continue to be used to engage new communities and identify future marker locations. Each of these rely on the strategy of ‘call and response’ to engage citizens.
Community based installations and activities will be launched as platforms for exploring, creating and enacting connections between all aspects of water and its relationship to quality of life. This will include Milwaukee history, what is happening now and visions for the future. It will enable people to understand their roles within the landscape and the larger ecological system.
The overall objective will be to increase water IQ throughout the City of Milwaukee to help create a new public narrative around water where citizens recognize water as resource and responsibility, vital to life as well as general well-being across the region.