Be A #RiverWitness!

This year, due to the pandemic, the Connecticut River Conservancy’s
Source to Sea Cleanup will take place throughout the month of September. Being a #RiverWitness can help support the Cleanup!


photoshop image created by Jane Beatrice Wegscheider


#RiverWitness is a way to protect and connect with our rivers.



#RiverWitness brings us together in taking action for and showing appreciation of our rivers, despite the need to be socially distant this year.


#RiverWitness art created by Hazel, age 8


You can use the #RiverWitness hashtag on social media to share your creativity inspired by the rivers you care about. What are you seeing in and along your rivers? How does it make you feel?


Photo and haiku by Jane Beatrice Wegscheider


Post your river photos, stories, artwork, poems and videos 
and tag the Connecticut River Conservancy
to help support their work advocating for our rivers.


#RiverWitness illustration created by Micah Goldstein


You can also use the #RiverWitness hashtag when you post on social media about helping to clean up trash in and along our rivers:


Photo and Tweet by Samantha Wood


“This is some people seen from above taking trash out of the river so the fish swimming in the river will have a cleaner place to live.”           — Emma, age 7



#RiverWitness posts will be shared by the Connecticut River Conservancy to a wider river community. Select images will be used to call on decision-makers to enact trash solutions to keep trash out of our rivers. Posted images will also be used to create a digital mosaic.

For more information and to find out how to get started,
visit the CRC’s website!

And check out their FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.



If you are not on social media, you can share your #RiverWitness images through the CRC’s #RiverWitness webpage.
Scroll down to the bottom of their page to upload your images.



You can also sign up here to participate in the Source to Sea Cleanup.



#RiverWitness is a Collaborative Community Art Response Team (CCART) project developed by The Art Garden’s Laura Iveson and Jane Wegscheider and Greenfield artist Samantha Wood in collaboration with the Connecticut River Conservancy.
CCART is supported by a grant awarded by The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts with funding from the Barr Foundation.







As Art Garden board members, we challenge ourselves to become an explicitly antiracist organization. We ask for your help as we explore what this means, and what specific actions we can take moving into the future.


     “Being antiracist results from a conscious decision to make frequent, consistent, equitable choices daily. These choices require ongoing self-awareness and self-reflection as we move through life. In the absence of making antiracist choices, we (un)consciously uphold aspects of white supremacy, white-dominant culture, and unequal institutions and society. Being racist or antiracist is not about who you are; it is about what you do.”
— from the National Museum of African American History & Culture website


The work in our predominantly white community involves an on-going process of recognizing and confronting our biases and white privilege.
To dismantle racism we need to see how pervasive white supremacy is
in our institutions and culture.

The work is messy.
We will continue to learn things about ourselves that make us uncomfortable.
We will wrestle with conflict.
We will need our skills, creativity, humility, and love.

Because this work is both individual and collective, we do not do it in isolation. We join together as a community, seeking to learn from one another and acknowledging that we will make mistakes. We invite you to share your thoughts and creative ideas. Help us imagine how each of us and The Art Garden can contribute to the work of dismantling racism.



The Art Garden is hosting three Zoom conversations in August
with Phyllis Labanowski, who co-developed and co-directed our ARTeens and
Art For A Change programs and collaborated with us for years on numerous community art projects.


Conversations to Explore Internalized White Supremacy
in Predominantly White Communities

Facilitated by Phyllis Labanowski, Activist Artist

1+ hour

Conversations for white people to develop stamina to engage with our whiteness and understand our role in both the creation of and the perpetuation of white supremacy. (It’s humbling to admit that we don’t know as much about racism as we think since most of us grew up in, were educated in and/or currently live and work in segregated spaces.) We will explore white supremacy from the inside-out, so please come with an open heart and a willingness to sit with contradiction.

One hour is a small amount of time to dedicate to this work. Your task, when you leave the conversation, is to enact your next steps.

Come to one, two, or all three:
Friday, August 7 at 6:00pm
Monday, August 10 at 10:00am
Tuesday, August 25 at 10:00am

You must RSVP to reserve a space.
(RSVP to csartgarden@gmail.com
at least 48 hours in advance of a conversation).

Space is limited to 10 people (minimum 5).
Cost is $25 per person per conversation.
(If you can’t come because of the cost,
ask about subsidized spaces available). 

OR attend a FREE class through
The Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership: www.truthschool.org
Fall classes begin in September.