Flood of color

Pasatiempo - - Mixed Media -

The Santa Fe River has been des­ig­nated one of the coun­try’s most en­dan­gered rivers. Though it is hard to be­lieve, the trickle-strength river is fur­ther stressed by its func­tion as the source of up to 40 per­cent of the city’s drink­ing wa­ter dur­ing wet years.

To raise aware­ness about the plight of the river, the Santa Fe Art In­sti­tute is help­ing to bring an ex­pected 3,000 peo­ple to the river this week­end. Near a south­ern stretch of the wa­ter, par­tic­i­pants will walk into the riverbed and hold aloft blue-painted re­cy­cled card­board so the river will ap­pear to run deep. Or­ga­niz­ers are call­ing the event a “flash flood.” It’s one of 20 global wa­ter­way sites where ac­tivists are tak­ing the same ac­tion on the same day as part of a world­wide project by en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist Bill McKibben that will be shown at the Can­cun Cli­mate Change Sum­mit from Nov. 29 to Dec. 10. The river art will be vis­i­ble from space, where satel­lites will ren­der im­ages to be posted on McKibben’s web­site, www.350.org. In Santa Fe, lo­cal cin­e­matog­ra­pher Doug Craw­ford will doc­u­ment the ac­tion aeri­ally (from ei­ther a bal­loon or heli­copter depend­ing on winds).

The event takes place along the Santa Fe River be­tween the San Ysidro Cross­ing and Caja del Oro Grant Road be­tween 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. Satur­day, Nov. 20. Park­ing is avail­able at Agua Fría Park and free bus pick­ups be­gin at 8:30 a.m. from Santa Fe Place (south­east corner of Cer­ril­los and Rodeo roads) and the Santa Fe Art In­sti­tute (1600 St. Michael’s Drive). A show of re­lated work opens at 5 p.m. Fri­day Nov. 19, at SFAI. For in­for­ma­tion, call 424-5050.

Il­lus­tra­tion by Pa­trick McFar­lin; cour­tesy Santa Fe Art In­sti­tute

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