Ask The River

February 15 - March 7, 2020

Intertwining people and place, Ask the River, a community-wide art project, empowers us to reconnect with the Connecticut River and the water that flows through it. 

Ask the River started as a drop of water on the side of a mountain, then became a trickle, a stream, a river. It began as part of an NEA Our Town Grant, which led to a temporary facade on a parking garage. It made a difference. Partners came in like tributaries: the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, the Connecticut River Conservancy, the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance, and Rich Holschuh, a member of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, who helps guide the project with the Abenaki understanding that people and place are one: We are the river and the river is us. 

A coalition of stakeholders formed to think about the Transportation Center Alleyway in new ways; with an AARP grant, a river-themed pop-up Alleyway event was held. Cyanotype workshops and exhibits planned for this winter and spring open the possibility of community members coming together to collaborate in art-making. An exhibit offers a chance to contemplate the river and includes postcards mailed in rivulets to parts unknown. 

In the summer, choreographed performances, open to anyone, animate the streets and walls of Brattleboro and Montpelier with streams of community members and 25-foot-long cyanotype banners. The banners are cut up into scarves and worn by a multitude of makers, connecting us and creating a convergence of river awareness. The Brattleboro town plan considers the importance of a path from the river into the town. A permanent kinetic sculpture, to be installed in 2021, anchors the contemporary transportation hub of Brattleboro, as the river was once the transportation hub of the region. All this is part of the flow of the river.

The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, with the Connecticut River running alongside, is a resonant location for this exhibit, creating awareness of the river and making a direct connection between art, community, place, and environment.  With the connection comes the possibility of our transformation from observers to river advocates.

— Elizabeth Billings, Evie Lovett, Andrea Wasserman


Photo Gallery


February 15, Saturday, 11 a.m. — Opening Celebration: Ask the River
February 27, Thursday, 7 p.m. — Ask the River: Imagine the Answers