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A rich, inter-arts cultural celebration that brings people together
from all parts of the city to honor our shared waters

We Are Water 2022 : We Go to the Water

Sunday, August 14th, it was a beautiful evening on the beach, celebrating water right on the shore of stunning Lake Michigan.  We were joined by our friends at the Milwaukee County Parks,  Milwaukee's Waterway Restoration Partnership, and the Area of Concern Community Advisory Committee who  highlighted the work being done to restore Milwaukee Waterways.

Having missed two years of hosting this uniting celebration we could feel the joy of everyone uniting at the water's edge. 

Milwaukeeans from every part of the city came together to celebrate our common waters.  Now more than ever, this kind of connection to one another and to the water is needed to heal as one united community.  


Milwaukee Water Commons staff and friends welcomed those new to the celebration. Everyone had the chance to make rainsticks and peace ribbons for water, learn about the Watermarks project, register to vote with Wisconsin Conservation Voices, Refill their water bottles with Plastic-Free MKE, paint rocks with True Skool Aqua Pioneers, and more!

Cecilio Negron and Jahmes Finlayson kept the flow of the evening with their rhythmic drumming, and creative percussion. We heard from Cheryl Nenn of Milwaukee Riverkeeper and our Board Member, Tina Johnson, MWC Board Secretary, as well as Mark Freeland, the new Director of the UWM's Electa Quinney Institute.  Spoken word and narration by Carmen Murguia, LaSonia Ragsdale, and Ken Brown.  The evening was capped off with a community installation of lights was coordinated by Melanie Ariens and highlighted by the Overpass Light Brigade with the message, "Water Unites Us."


Scenes From Past Celebrations...

Past themes have included:

We are Water Healers

The Great Lakes are Our Home

Native Names for Our Waters

Somos Agua: We Are Water 

We have featured a Native American water ceremony, music and singing, interpretive dance, drumming, poetry, improvisation and original spoken word performance.  Collaborative performers bring their own work and ideas to the event and audience participation is included.

​The evening capstone to this experience is the community creation of a large interactive art installation, an illuminated image of the Great Lakes or written word in the sand. All attendees take part in creating this, placing over 300 cups of water with submersible lights in a drawing in the sand. 


We Are Water continues to be a very moving and singular experience.   Participants have told us they were fully engaged and touched by participating in this beautiful, collaborative creation and felt a deep sense of connection to both the community and our shared waters. 

Please join us next year!  You are welcome!

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