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Call for Artists: Water, Water Invitational

Updated: Feb 15, 2019

Water, Water: Pop-up Invitational Thursday, April 18 –Friday, May 3, 2019

Coinciding with Earth Day 2019, the Walter Anderson Museum of Art mounts an exhibition of contemporary art examining the relationship between people and their waterways. Inspired by Walter Anderson’s excursions in and depictions of both salt and fresh water, this exhibition is guest curated by John Ruskey of Quapaw Canoe Company, avid adventurer, visual artist, and steward of the Mississippi River.

Water, Water takes its name from a verse from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, one of Walter Anderson’s favorite poems. The exhibition explores the myriad ways that water and human societies interact – sometimes beautifully, sometimes at odds.


  • Artists working in all media are encouraged to apply.

  • This invitational is open to all artists over the age of 18 years.

  • All subject matter must be related to the theme of Water, Water and it is the sole discretion of the guest curator to determine which works are accepted into the exhibition. Artworks may explore themes of the physical substance of water, the way societies and water interact, Coleridge’s poem, or Walter Anderson-inspired waterscapes.

Interested artists should send up to five (5) digital images and an artist statement to; deadline for submissions is March 15. Please include in your email: Name, Telephone Number, Title of Artwork, Medium, and Date of Completion.

If you are accepted into the invitational it is your responsibility to deliver your artwork on (or before) April 17 between 9 AM and 4:30 PM. Artworks will not be accepted after 4:30 PM on the April 17 without prior approval. All 2-dimensional works must be framed and/or ready to hang. Any works that consist of multiple parts must come with detailed instructions for installation.

It is also the artist’s responsibility to pick up their artworks (or make alternative arrangements for timely pickup with WAMA staff) between May 3 - May 18 during museum hours. All works not picked up will be disposed of appropriately.

The Walter Anderson Museum of Art does not assume any risk for the works of art put on exhibition as part of this invitational. By submitting your work for this exhibit, you agree to these stipulations.

Guest Curator John Ruskey:

Photograph by Rory Doyle
"[For me, art is] a way of exploring, interacting and getting closer to the things that inspire, mostly with Mother Nature…" - John Ruskey

John Ruskey builds voyageur style stripper canoes for use on the wild waters of the Lower Mississippi River, and is one of the most experienced builders of dugout canoes in the country. In 1998/99 John apprenticed to master canoe builder Ralph Frese in the construction of his first cypress strip voyageur canoe, The Ladybug 27’ cypress strip voyageur canoe. In 2007 Chinook elder & master canoe builder George Lagergren (94y/o) asked John to renovate 2 of his traditional Chinook dugouts which are now ceremonially housed in tribal headquarters, Wilapa Bay Washington. John is a musician, painter and writer, and lives in Clarksdale with his wife and daughter. He was the fist curator of the Delta Blues Museum (1992-98) and is co-founder of the Delta Blues Education Fund. In 1998 he founded the Mighty Quapaws Apprenticeship Program for the youth of the Mississippi Delta, most of whom come from severely distressed neighborhoods. In 2011 he founded the Lower Mississippi River Foundation for access, education, and the betterment of public outdoor recreation on the Middle & Lower Mississippi Rivers.

John is the author of the Wild Miles ( and the Rivergator: Paddler's Guide to the Lower Mississippi River Trail ( His passion for nature finds expression in music, painting, writing and canoe building. The canoe is a unique art form that brings together the purist principals of form, materials & function into one integral & elegant vessel. He has floated and written about many of the major rivers of North America, including the Mississippi, the Colorado, the Rio Grande, the Arkansas, the Platte, the Columbia, the Missouri, and most recently the Atchafalaya. In the Fall of 2002 he paddled the length of the Big Muddy (Missouri) from Three Forks Montana to St. Louis, Missouri, in a custom built dugout canoe. His guiding philosophy comes from Thoreau’s statement: “in wildness is the preservation of the world,” words that are becoming increasingly important as global overpopulation and global thirst for fresh water and energy sources are threatening the forests & islands of the Lower Mississippi Valley.


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