Public Water: Watershed Workshops

Posted on Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

Are you a steward of the Catskill, Delaware, or Croton watersheds?

Beginning in late October, More Art and artist Mary Mattingly are hosting community workshops to develop a public art project about the watersheds that feed the NYC water supply; the experiences of the stewards based in the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds; and the complex way this system connects Hudson Valley and NYC residents. Through these workshops, we invite the public to rethink ideas about water care and access, and to share expertise and personal stories that will fuel the content and messaging of the project. In each session, we’ll explore the network of care that exists in the watershed, touching on concerns about water quality, water access, privatized water, water infrastructure, local water issues, and more.

These workshops may be especially interesting to performers, writers, and artists, as well as those interested in preservation and advocacy related to topics including water quality and management, or individuals who are looking for innovative ways to raise public awareness around environmental justice and community-led efforts around water issues. 

In this moment of rising environmental urgency, at home and around the world, this is an invitation to examine the relationships to water that tie us to this place and one another. The recent threats of rollbacks to clean water protections have brought us to a tipping point. This project provides an opportunity to amplify the work of Hudson Valley communities, and, in this moment of change, envision a more balanced future.

There will be two different workshops. First—at Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies (October 26) and the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (November 2)—we will gain critical feedback and responses to the NYC watershed through design exercises and creative writing. 

Second—at the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (November 2)—through discussion and script development, participants will collaborate with the artist to explore how these stories can be developed into a script and performance score that will be used as part of the public artwork and performance.

During Spring 2020, the material generated in the workshops will be presented in conjunction with a sculpture installed in a public space in NYC that provides a stage for storytelling, encouraging dialogue with the public. The artwork will bring attention to the extent of care upstate stewards are performing to maintain the NYC water supply. The installation will include programming developed in collaboration with environmental justice and water organizations from watershed regions and New York City. Workshop participants are invited to continue collaborating on the project as a performer, or as an advisor/project partner for the Spring 2020 public presentation in NYC.


Unfortunately we have had to cancel the workshops in October and November,  but please register your interest in being involved in the project below…

Public Water: COLLECTIONS: Circulating stories

 A collaborative infrastructure design and writing workshop

When: October 26, 2-5pm
Where: Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies: 2801 Sharon Turnpike, Millbrook, NY 12545

When: November 2, 10am-1pm
Where: Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program, 3130 NY-28, Shokan, NY 12481

Public Water: PROGRESSIONS: Future care

A script writing and acting workshop

When: November 2, 2-5pm
Where: Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program, 3130 NY-28, Shokan, NY 12481


If you would like to  be involved or stay informed about the goings-on of the project, please fill out this form:

Please contact Elana Lado at for more information.


About the Artist
Mary Mattingly is a visual artist. She founded Swale, an edible landscape on a barge in New York City. Docked at public piers but following waterways common laws, Swale circumnavigates New York’s public land laws, allowing anyone to pick free fresh food. Swale instigated and co-created the “foodway” in Concrete Plant Park, the Bronx in 2017. The “foodway” is the first time New York City Parks is allowing people to publicly forage in over 100 years.

Mattingly recently completed a two-part sculpture Pull for the International Havana Biennial with the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de la Habana and the Bronx Museum of the Arts, two spherical ecosystems that were pulled across Habana to Parque Central and the museum. In 2018 she received a commission from BRIC Arts Media to build What Happens After which involved dismantling a military vehicle (LMTV) that had been to Afghanistan and deconstructing its mineral supply chain. A group of artists including performance artists, veterans, and public space activists re-envisioned the vehicle for BRIC. In 2016 Mattingly had led a similar project at the Museum of Modern Art. In 2009 Mattingly founded the Waterpod Project, a barge-based public space and self-sufficient habitat that hosted over 200,000 visitors in New York. In 2014, an artist residency on the water called WetLand launched in Philadelphia and traveled to the Parrish Museum. It was utilized by the University of Pennsylvania’s Environmental Humanities program until 2017.


These workshops are produced by More Art in partnership with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program.

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program