Women and Water Rights: Rivers of Regeneration

February 23 to March 25, 2010

Katherine E. Nash Gallery

Regis Center for Art, University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, MN 55455

Art has the responsibility to help society deal with its hidden conflicts and contradictions…to imagine what could exist and give it shape…open up a space for critical thinking.
- Herbert Marcuse

The Women and Water Rights: Rivers of Regeneration (WWR) project addresses the precarious state of the world’s fresh water supply and the global need for gender mainstreaming in water management. Through an art exhibition and related programs, WWR underscores the message that water access is a universal human right.

It is hoped that this website can assist you in planning your own WWR program. We believe that it is far more effective to engage local communities and local artists to address local water rights issues. We are available to help you in this effort.

Check the newest updates here

New Call for art 2012: Concerning Water - see details here, deadline march 1, 2012


We are facing a global water crisis:* 18% of the world’s population lack access to safe drinking water, and 42% lack access to basic sanitation. More than 2.2 million people die each year from diseases associated with these conditions. As water scarcity grows, so will these numbers. By 2025, it is estimated that two thirds of the world’s population will live in areas facing moderate to severe water stress.

See http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/factsheet.html

WWR calls attention to the United Nation’s International Decade for Action, the Water for Life! agenda, and the UN Millennium Development Goals, the achievement of which hinge on integrated management of water resources. A target of the MDG’s is to halve by 2015 those peoples without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

See: http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/pdf/pb_water_gender_upd.pdf

As women play a central role in water provision and management, women must be central in planning for the future. A focus of WWR is to examine how the inclusion of women in the management of local, regional, and global water resources. would improve the social, economic and environmental results. WWR will emphasize how the arts both reflect and alter societal attitudes leading to cultural and economic change.


  • The WWR exhibition celebrates work by national and international artists who are investigating water rights as subject and material in their work, using new technologies as well as traditional media.  It features an invitational and juried exhibition of artwork from artists residing in the five states that form the basin of the Upper Mississippi and an international call for video work. In addition, an international mail art exhibition of adult and student locally and globally resulting from a worldwide call is in the adjacent Quarter Gallery in the Department of Art.
  • Symposium: Global Policy – Local Action, March 4 and 5, 2010 brought together experts to discuss their perceptions of accountable guardianship that will ensure water as a fundamental human right. Locally and globally, what is the connection between women and water? How might viable change to present practice be initiated? Invited participants represent various arenas, including native, social, and historical practice, legislative mandates, agricultural practice, and industrial restrictions.
  • Water Dance: A celebration of water through poetry, visual art, music and dance,  March 3, 2010 was for Twin Cities school audiences.  The Education committee headed by Bonnie Ploger and Sage Passi coordinated the activities. Students participated in an open mic poetry reading/poetry slam, were guided by volunteers through the art exhibition, developed postcards on the theme of water rights for display in the Quarter Gallery, and enjoyed a student performance at the Ted Mann Concert Hall. Coordinated by distinguished composer and teacher Janika Vandervelde, choral compositions written by students in collaboration with composers at the Perpich Center for Arts Education, were performed by high school and college choral and choreography students.
  • The WWR website documents the exhibit and provides a guide for developing your community’s efforts.
  • Sponsors

    • The University of Minnesota Department of Art
    • The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and the Jane Addams Peace Association, Minnesota Metro Branch Arts Committee
    • Women’s Caucus for Art (WCA) Minnesota Chapter
    • The Office of International Programs, University of Minnesota
    • The Consortium for the Study of the Asias, University of Minnesota
    • The Women’s Center, University of Minnesota
    • The Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota/ River Life Program
    • The Puffin Foundation
    • The Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs  http:/hhh.umn.edu