project leader
Evie, Andy, and Elizabeth B
Brattleboro Transportation Center
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We made it!

the project

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


Ask the River is: 

  • a permanent kinetic art installation on the side of the Brattleboro Transportation Center

  • a community-wide art-making initiative in which over 30 community groups collaborate in exploring what the river means while making 25 foot long silk cyanotype* banners

  • an immersive river flow exhibition of hundreds of large format cyanotypes, including an invitation to write and send cyanotype postcards

  • two choreographed cyanotype banner performances, open to anyone, animating the streets of Brattleboro and Montpelier with streams of community members and the 25’ long cyanotype banners.

  • a statewide initiative transforming the banners into scarves to be worn by participants, creating a human watershed of water awareness. 


We are grateful to our partners: the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, Connecticut River Conservancy, Downtown Brattleboro Alliance, and Rich Holschuh, a cultural liaison for Elnu Abenaki, who helps to guide the project with the Abenaki understanding that people and place are inseparable and one: we are the river and the river is us.  


*a cyanotype is a kind of photograph made by exposing fabric or paper coated with light-sensitive emulsion to the sun

the steps


    • ioby crowdfunding campaign: every dollar raised is matched by ArtPlace America

    • Brattleboro Museum and Art Center exhibit: a river of cyanotypes; 300 cyanotype postcards, integrated into the exhibit, written and posted; an invitation to steward our river in the face of challenges to river and water health including the dam relicensing process occurring now, in 2020.

    • 30 community cyanotype banners (4’ x 25’) created by:

      • Oak Grove School, Green Street School, Hinsdale Elementary School, New England Center for Circus Arts, Holton Home Elder Living, Brattleboro Boys and Girls Club, In-Sight Photography Project, Community Engagement Lab and spontaneous community gatherings.

    • Two choreographed cyanotype banner performances 

      • Gallery Walk, Brattleboro: banner drop and choreographed animation of the streets of Brattleboro with luminous blue silk banners flowing down to the Connecticut River.

      • One World Festival of Arts and Imagination, Montpelier, Vermont: choreographed banner performance unfurls down the steps of the Vermont State Capitol, communicating the message of the necessity of the clear flow of water in our watersheds, rivers, and lives.


    • Workshops: banners made into scarves to be worn by the multitude of participants, connecting us and creating a convergence of water awareness. 

    • Installation of Ask the River, the permanent kinetic sculpture on Brattleboro Transportation Center, uplifting the town parking garage and alleyway and making it inviting for all. This permanent kinetic sculpture celebrates the contemporary transportation hub of Brattleboro, as the river was once the transportation hub of the region. 

why we're doing it

The Connecticut River is an artery running along the length of Vermont. It is a reason for the existence of the town of Brattleboro, a town now physically and visually disconnected from the Connecticut River. When we feel connection, we feel an urgency to care. Without connection, we lose that urgency. Art holds the potential to forge connections.

In 2016, we created River Wall, a temporary, kinetic installation on the side of the Brattleboro Transportation Center. The sculptural patterns of water visually connected the parking garage to the river and brought unexpected light to darker corners, making the area feel inviting and cared for.  

When we went to de-install the temporary sculpture, we were met with an emotionally fueled response: the community did not want the sculpture to go away. We resolved to find a way to make that temporary sculpture permanent. Ask the River joined the town-wide conversation to uplift the alleyway and the Brattleboro Transportation Center, with careful attention, lighting and increased access to bathrooms.  

Understanding the strength in connecting, community cyanotype postcard and banner-making invites the community to collaborate in art-making focused around forging a deeper relationship with the river.  This project comes at a point of needed awareness in that it brings public attention to the once-in-thirty-year relicensing of dams on the Connecticut River and the importance of public input and understanding. 

At this time of human-driven climate change and the earth’s vulnerability, Ask the River empowers us to reconnect to the river, to water and to each other.



Disbursed Budget:


Our entire budget for Ask the River is $110,00, of which we have raised $81,000. 

With ioby, we hoped to raise $17,000, getting us that much closer to our goal. We have never been part of a crowd funding campaign and felt uncomfortable trying to raise the remaining $29,000 needed. $17,000 felt like a challenge we could meet. 

With our ioby campaign, we reached $20,401.93 making us that much closer to our final goal!

TOTAL RAISED = $21,069.00
ioby Platform Fee $35.00
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $632.07

Original Budget:

Our entire budget for Ask the River is $110,00, of which we have raised $81,000. 

We are getting there!

We are looking to raise $17,000 with ioby for materials, choreography, education, and project documentation.

ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $527
TOTAL TO RAISE = $17,562


We made it!

Through the generosity of so many, we reached our goal and then some!

Check out the exerpts from community written postcards on our Ask the River instagram page, #ask_the_river.

With the cyanotype banner making workshops on hold due to Covid-19, we moved right into the Brattleboro Transportation Center design work. We will be posting preliminary drafts soon.

And stay tuned for the community workshops and performances, when we can be together again

Opening reception: Feb. 15-17th


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Andy
  • Anonymous
  • Missy + Alden S.
  • Susie R.
  • The Wagner Family
  • Anonymous
  • Patricia D.
  • Lucinda H.
  • Anonymous
  • Marion W.
  • Hannah and Michael
  • Zabette M.
  • Anonymous
  • Renee G.
  • Christianne Hagemann
  • A long-time admirer of Evie Lovett's work
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Bill and Mary Wasserman
  • Anonymous
  • phillip and susan
  • David Mascoveta
  • Wendy O.
  • Margaret and Marshall
  • Wendy Sullivan
  • Anonymous
  • gus speth
  • Barbara B.
  • M & R
  • constance & Bill Hennessey
  • Janet Ulwick Sacca and Stephen Sacca
  • Anonymous
  • anonymous