The Art of the River: Exploring the Connecticut River in Art, History and a Canoe

The Nature Conservancy and artist Samuel Rowlett are pleased to offer several opportunities to enjoy and respond to The Connecticut River this summer.

NORTHAMPTON, MA | May 24, 2012

Currently at The Oxbow Gallery in Northampton, artist Samuel Rowlett’s solo exhibition, “Abandoned Meanders,” beautifully documents his explorations of the Connecticut River watershed and investigations into the relationships between art and nature.

In support of its four-state Connecticut River Program, The Nature Conservancy is collaborating with Rowlett to explore how art can be a medium for community engagement.

Together, this summer, Rowlett and the Conservancy invite the public to celebrate and learn about the river and share individual experiences.

  • At the center of Abandoned Meanders is an ongoing performance in which Rowlett builds—at The Oxbow Gallery—a homemade wood and canvas canoe that’s destined for the waters of the Connecticut River. This solo exhibition lasts through May 27. Gallery hours are Thursday-Sunday, 12 p.m.-5 p.m.
  • At 7 p.m. on May 29 at The Oxbow Gallery, Rowlett and Kim Lutz, director of the Conservancy’s Connecticut River Program will speak, exploring historical examples of artists reflecting on the Connecticut River, and discussing how contemporary artists are using art to highlight ecological issues.
  • On June 9, Rowlett will paddle this canoe in a public expedition down the Connecticut River from Northampton to Hartford, Conn. There will be a stop for an overnight “camp out” (replete with free s’mores for the public in exchange for telling a story around the campfire) at the Parsons Hall Project Space in Holyoke, Mass.
  • Rowlett ends his journey downriver at Real Art Ways in Hartford, where the canoe and other projects will be included in “An Unnamed Flowing, Nowhere,” a solo exhibition on view June 21-Sept. 9.

Another element of the project is an interactive web-based map that uses crowdsourcing to create a collaborative community “portrait” of New England’s largest freshwater ecosystem. The public is invited to contribute videos, artwork, research, photos and stories to this ongoing map project. Please follow the link below and click the “Add” button to upload your reflections on the watershed:

Samuel Rowlett earned his Master of Fine Arts degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. and his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Ore. He has exhibited his work nationally and received several honors, including a fellowship from Yale University School of Art and a recent artist’s residency at MASS MoCA’s Kidspace. Rowlett has been selected for a forthcoming solo show as part of the “Step Up” exhibition series at Real Arts Ways in Hartford.

Although at heart a painter, in his work, Rowlett often filters video, performance, sculpture and various media through the lens of painting and drawing.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

Contact information

Samuel Rowlett

James Miller
Media Relations Manager
The Nature Conservancy

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