Mississippi River Stories

April 18, 2022 – June 6, 2022
Stormwater Learning Center, Mississippi Watershed Management Organization
2522 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

Exhibit partners
University of St. Thomas Sustainable Communities Partnership, Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, and the Natural Heritage Project

Community Events
Artist Open House, April 23, 2022, 1-3pm (Event Details)
Meet the artists and learn more about the student research that inspired the artwork.
Light refreshments provided.

Virtual Exhibit

Mississippi River Stories features a collection of visual artwork created by 16 different artists. Each piece is inspired by a river story collected from around the Twin Cities by University of St. Thomas students through a research partnership with the Sustainable Communities Partnership, the MWMO, and the Natural Heritage Project.

Check out the virtual exhibit gallery below.

About the Exhibit

Illustration by Sarah Nelson.
Illustration by Sarah Nelson.

Mississippi River Stories explores our diverse connections with the Mississippi River through the translation of research into art.

The Research

University of St. Thomas students in Society and Sustainability (ENVR 212, Fall 2019) collaborated with the St. Thomas Sustainable Communities Partnership (SCP), the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO), and the Natural Heritage Project (NHP) to learn about people’s experiences of the Mississippi River and why the river is important to them.

Students collected community members’ river stories through an online survey and through NHP’s Elm Tree Story Booth, which traveled to different locations in the Twin Cities to hear from diverse voices.

Translating Research into Art

This exhibit shares the expression of students’ research through art:

  • Students collaborated with SCP Artist-in-Residence, Sarah Nelson, to communicate their analysis of online survey data through visual arts. Learn about the students’ research findings and view the illustration here.
  • Fifteen local artists received a community member’s river story, collected through the Elm Tree Story Booth, to inspire their creation of artwork.  View the artwork and read the stories that inspired the work in the virtual gallery.

Participating artists include Laura Ahola-Young, Jason Arney-O’Neil, Barbara Rogers Bridges, Amy Clark, Mark Cosimini, Wynn Davis, Sharon DeMark, MaryBeth Garrigan, Jerry Allen Gilmore, Stefanie Kiihn, Mike Klein, Kristin Maija Peterson, Joan Porter-Einsman, Ric Rosow, and Beatriz Sanchez.

About SCP and SCP Arts

The University of St. Thomas Sustainable Communities Partnership (SCP) collaborates with government, nonprofit, and campus partners to integrate projects important to partners into courses across disciplines. In collaboration with partners, students engage in real-world, creative problem-solving to apply what they learn in class to advance partners’ sustainability goals and improve interconnected human and ecological well-being in the Twin Cities. Through the SCP Arts initiative, students collaborate with local artists to translate their SCP project findings into artwork, bringing to life community-identified sustainability goals for people of all ages. SCP Arts also collaborates with local artists, writers, and researchers to develop participatory initiatives to inspire people of all ages to explore the ecological and social dimensions of human and environmental interactions in our communities.

About the Natural Heritage Project

The Natural Heritage Project views the arts as the context where the most visionary and empathetic approaches to urgent ecological challenges should be explored and shared. The Natural Heritage Project creates interactive, experience-based exhibits in partnership with multidisciplinary creatives (artists, writers, musicians, performers, storytellers, designers, fabricators, etc.) and community-based organizations to develop opportunities for public discourse about the current conditions of ecological communities and to suggest opportunities to act.


Abby Moore
Training and Community Learning Specialist
Mississippi Watershed Management Organization

Maria Dahmus
Director, Sustainable Communities Partnership
Course instructor, Society and Sustainability (ENVR 212), Fall 2019
University of St. Thomas