Invitation To Participate & Video

Posted on 25th February 2009 by admin in Video


My name is Bernice Davidson. I am a professor of Art at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tennessee, USA. My colleagues and I have been working on a global art exchange aimed at using art to educate people all over the world about the preciousness of our rivers and waterways.

So far we have art work to share from talented artists from three continents. We wish to both expand the art show by including art from all regions of our planet and to make the show available to institutions around the globe. Please read this invitation and contact me if you would like to participate.

Here Is the background:

In the year 1996, I had the job teaching art in an inner city magnate school for music and art. These kids were talented and angry. I decided to bond them with an art project that would get their attention. The school was in close proximity to the Cuyahoga River — one of the only rivers in the world that turns back on itself, making an almost complete loop.

There is a Burr Oak tree near its shore that is 500 years old, named the Signal Tree, and planted by the Iroquois to let everyone know their canoes had to be portaged 8 miles from that spot. The tree marked a safe passage area where no one was attacked.

The Cuyahoga River was also a place on the Underground Railroad, where hidden slaves passed on barges concealed under hay bales and other goods, to find their freedom where the river meets Lake Erie. In later years, the river burned twice, due to pollutants from the iron industry in Cleveland. At the time of our project, it was still heavily polluted.

These high school students were so captivated by the river that it became their muse; they fell in love with their river and made incredible art, telling the stories about the river. Toward the end of the project, they started wondering about the stories behind other rivers of the world. They even asked me to take their river paintings to Africa, so as to warn the people not to pollute their rivers.

Two years later, with grants from the Ohio Arts Council and private funding, I was able to take their paintings to Ghana, Africa. Later that same year, the project also went to Volgograd, Russia to study the Volga River.

This was the beginning of the Global Rivers Art Exchange Project.

As I travel around, looking at the worlds rivers, I notice that many people have no idea how to protect their local waterways, so often choked with trash and human waste. Given the immediate threats to clean water resources, and related environmental problems around the world, as well as the timely, heightened interest in solving them, it is appropriate to expand this Project now. Can a river be healed through art?

Here Is the Idea;

The Global Rivers Art Exchange will travel to neighborhoods in countries where rivers are distressed, to serve as a way to raise peoples consciousness and to prompt action to counteract this trend. I have more than 50 beautiful river paintings by artists from three continents.

Could artists collective attention to water resources become a unifying factor in joining hands to save our planet? I invite you to join me in a project that has certain material requirements, but no limits on imagination.

Pick a river or a body of water near you. Learn about it, and use its image as your muse. Create a painting on un-stretched canvas, sturdy paper, or any material that can be rolled — 2″ by 3″6″ — with a 5″ border at the top and bottom, for scroll holders to be inserted. These paintings will hang vertically, as scrolls; and can be mailed easily from venue to venue.

This invitation goes out to one and all. There will be two levels of work created; one, a juried show of professional-quality art, which will be exhibited at museums, colleges, and universities. The other level will be non-juried and include young people.

The 2nd grouping of works will be shown at schools and community centers. Each entry should have a statement about the piece, and the river you are addressing, in order to keep the educational element strong. You will also be asked to write a paragraph about yourself and your own creative history. In turn, you will be notified as to each and every venue where your work will appear.

For more information about the project, please contact me at:

Bernice Davidson
Associate Professor
Martin Methodist College
Pulaski, Tennessee

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