The Cherry Valley Water Project seeks to connect us with our water, the source of all life.

A year-long series of interviews and public workshops will culminate in a community-sourced and community-performed evening of poetry, music, theater and puppetry. I will also create a detailed creative map of the watershed and an online presence for the project through this website and collectively-sourced social media posts (#cherryvalleywater).

I was born and raised in the small village of Cherry Valley, NY with a population of about 500 people. I have lived many places but I always knew I’d return to my hometown to raise my family. We lead a quiet life in a beautiful community with very clean air and water. It is this water that I am inspired to explore, learn from and help my community connect with. The Cherry Valley Creek, its tributaries and waterfalls, are the source of our drinking water and our well-being. As I watch water wreck havoc throughout the world through droughts, floods and tidal waves, I am so very grateful for our gentle creek. In time our creek could dry up or turn into a raging river and this makes it all the more important for our community to develop a relationship and deep knowing of its ways.

Water is known as a conduit for emotions. There are many aspects of the water in our community that are ripe for exploration and full of creative inspiration. Some of the tributaries have been buried and do not appear on maps. Many local people don’t know they’re there or where they connect. Connecting with the water in its fullness will provide a guide by which we can connect to our own emotions and stories. Through creative workshops (poetry, music, theater and puppetry) offered by myself and other community members, we will create a body of work inspired by our water. We will assemble this work into an evening performance and an online presence to share our creative efforts with the rest of the community and the world.

My hope is that through the Cherry Valley Water Project, we will slow down and notice the beauty and vitality of their surroundings. By attending a workshop and sitting by the creek for an afternoon, slowly drafting a poem, you will feel less alone and more connected to nature. By building the courage to share that poem in front of an audience and online, you will build confidence and pride in your surroundings. Together we will bond in new ways, becoming vulnerable and resilient, all while developing a deep love for the flowing water that surrounds us all.

I am so happy to share that I’ve been accepted into the NYS Rural and Traditional Arts Fellowship program! Funding for this project is made possible with support from the New York State Council on the Arts with support from the Governor’s Office and the New York State Legislature. The Cherry Valley Community Facility Corporation (The Old School) is also helping to fund the project.

If you or your organization would like to make a financial contribution to the Cherry Valley Water Project, it would be much appreciated. Please contact me here.