by Eric Pringle
Sandra Rolph (MLA '07), Sean Jergens (BED '02, MLA '05), and Jenny Salita (MLA '08) created artwork for the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's latest exhibit, "Waterosity: Go Green with a Splash." Their piece, "Global Spydrology," explores the connection between people, plants, and water. (Spydrology is a combination of spiral and hydrology.)
Rolph, Jergens, and Salita's work features galvanized metal pipes that represent the amount of fresh water consumed daily per capita in 12 different countries around the world. The nine columns of fresh water that one American uses in one day is a stark contrast to the one column or less used daily per capita in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to Rolph, she and her partners only had a month to come up with a design idea and submit it to the arboretum. Their creation was one of 10 selected by the arboretum out of 70 entries.
"After we found out our piece was going to be in the exhibit, we had all winter to plan and refine the design based on the budget," Rolph said. "Then it took about three or four weekends of actual grunt work to complete this spring."
Jergens said creating a piece that was educational and included a message about the importance of water was a main goal of the group. "We wanted something with drama and a real presence that would emphasize the enormity of the issue of water use and conservation on a global scale," he said.
"This exhibit is important because fresh water is a resource that every person in the world needs, yet it is distributed very unevenly around the world," Jergens said.
Rolph feels that the piece is an eye-opening addition to the Waterosity exhibit. "As a country, we are relatively water-rich and we really take our water resources for granted," she said. "We don't realize how other countries with poor access to water have to deal with that shortage...it was kind of shocking -- even we were stunned when we put up the USA pipes and saw how much that really was."
The goal of the Waterosity exhibit (www.arboretum.umn.edu/waterosity) is to inform people of the importance of water conservation. The three components of the exhibit include "Intriguing Art in the Garden," "Harvest Your Rain," and "Cutting Edge on Lawns." The exhibit runs through October 4, 2009.