MSU: Art with a message in the Red Cedar River


EAST LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – Michigan State University is unique among college campuses because a river literally runs through it.

That, and the fact that we’re the Great Lakes State, are among the reasons MSU launched a new initiative to make people more aware of water in our lives.

“Water Moves MSU” is a cultural initiative hoping to promote the idea that water is not only a valuable daily resource, but for some, also a challenge.

Michigan State University freshman, Colin Motherway, believes when it comes to global issues, we are all just one big family.

“You know that’s something that we can’t control and just because we’re here in the middle of Michigan doesn’t mean we can’t help someone across the world,” explains Motherway. “I think it’s also our responsibility if we can we should do it.”

His class went on a field trip to MSU’s Broad Museum where they found portraits of flood survivors from different parts of the world standing in front of their homes after being submerged by water.

“It’s a very dramatic portrayal. You see images of people where literally the water level is rising and they are either knee deep, or waist deep and some of them are even neck deep in the water,” said Prabu David, dean of the MSU College of Communications Arts and Sciences.

The photos not only hang inside the museum, but the college also found a way to take them outside the walls and place them on the banks of the Red Cedar River.

The artist is Gideon Mendel and the curator of the exhibition is Caitlín Doherty.

“The whole idea is to sort of make people pause and really think about how water effects us on campus and worldwide and how humans really are effecting climate change,” explains Whitney Stopel, Director of PR, Broad Museum.

And at MSU, this is just the beginning.

The college hopes to create even more opportunities like bringing in ice sculptures and offering boat rides on the Great Lakes for students so that they will think twice before taking water for granted.

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