I want to share so much today that I am not sure where to begin.
As the gesture Potable – Rock Springs, WI unfolds I wanted to firstly share the invitation to join me somewhere in Rock Springs or Reedsburg.
Here was the invitation I compiled for the opening of Watermark at Woolen Mill Gallery in Reedsburg, WI.
The cups are on exhibit with some wonderful artists that have made a career of making works related to our world’s water. A link here to my Facebook images will give you a feel for the works at Watermark along with the opening reception. The show was wonderfully received with Michael Frels and Hyeon Jung Kim present to celebrate our works and the works of the other artists unable to attend.
I dutifully laminated an invitation, just like the Potable – Pryor Avenue Iron Well in Milwaukee, and placed it near the (public access) well in Rock Springs prior to the reception. I went to the well with Michael and Hyeon to collect water for the reception too.
Here we are at the well last month…
Husband Paul and I visited the well (me for the first time) last summer per the request of Jay Salinas of Wormfarm. The well has a history with Paul as he took an across the state bike tour with some good friends in high school back in the 70’s. They were riding to LaCrosse, WI and came upon the well and drank voraciously. It continues to be a fond memory of his.
Also, here is the well filmed and described on the FindASpring site.
So, on to the present day situation. I received this email the day after the reception:
Your sign was brought to my attention today. Even though the free flowing spring water is available to the public this location is on private land. Because this is private land you are not authorized to sell or give away any merchandise.
Diane Stoeckmann Chalmers
Rock Springs Artesian Water Corp.
PO Box 181
Rock Springs, WI 53961
And then moving backwards in time from August 5th…
Ms. Bouzide, Ms. Neuwirth and Mr. Salinas,
Thank you for your letters. As indicated in my daughter’s original email this is my private property and the only activity I have authorized to the public is the collection of water. Consequently, I will not authorize any other type of activities including those discussed in your letter. I ask that you respect my decision.
William D. Stoeckmann
From: wormfarm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Catherine Bouzide <email@example.com>; Diane Stoeckmann Chalmers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, August 4, 2011 6:34 PM
Subject: Re: Terra Cotta Cups
Ms Stoeckmann Chalmers,
We are writing on behalf of Cathy Schwalbe-Bouzide and her proposed Potable Gesture intended to be realized August 13 at the Rock Springs well head. Her intention is to simply fill plain yet beautiful hand-made ceramic cups from the free flowing well and offer them to passers by. She will neither sell nor distribute any merchandise or literature and may engage in pleasant conversation with anyone who stops.
Cathy is a talented and thoughtful artist who has worked with the Wormfarm for 3 years now. Her work both as an artist and curator addresses a range of issues, pertinent to agriculture and rural life in ways that are thoughtful, express respect and curiosity and that have been profoundly moving.
In 2010, she curated “Women and Grains” at the Woolen Mill Gallery in which artists from across the country converged on Reedsburg to create and exhibition that reached beyond the walls of the gallery and had lasting beneficial impact on this community. The Potable Gesture has the potential to do this once again. If there is anything we can do to help facilitate this by speaking to the regulating authorities and securing all necessary permissions and assurances please let us know and we will comply.
Donna Neuwirth and Jay Salinas
—– Original Message —–
From: Catherine Bouzide
To: Diane Stoeckmann Chalmers
Sent: Saturday, July 23, 2011 11:21
Subject: Re: Terra Cotta Cups
Dear Ms. Stoeckmann Chalmers,
Thanks so much for your communication regarding the Potable Gesture scheduled for August 13 in conjunction with Watermark at Woolen Mill Gallery.
Please accept my sincere apology for not having contacted you prior to posting my invitation. It is my hope that I will gain your permission, or permission from whomever necessary, to celebrate this wonderful artesian well. Please know that I was made aware of the Rock Springs Well last year during an art exhibit here in Reedsburg through the Wormfarm Institute, Donna Neuwirth and Jay Salinas. Looking the well up on line via Find a Spring, I was unaware of any permission that might be necessary.
I am an artist who has donated her time, resources, and creativity towards contemplative events, such as Potable, that call attention to agriculture and water use.
You may look at my blog entry here from a similar gesture in Milwaukee, WI in September 2010:
Again, it is my hope to gain your permission to complete my art piece Potable – Rock Springs with your generous permission.
Thanks so much for your contact. I look forward to hearing from you.
Well (no pun intended), that is where it all stands today. I am not sure where the gesture will take place. On the public access road near the well, back at the gallery with pitchers of Rock Spring Well water back at the Woolen Mill Gallery, or an as yet undisclosed place in between. I know that if you are still reading this you wish this project well in every sense. If giving away handmade cups is a radical idea and gesture then please count me in. Please look forward to more images as the weekend unfolds.
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