Photos by Melissa Webb and TLC Baltimore Photography

About the Lazy River (from the Artscape website):

Lazy River consisted of 15 participatory installations, sculptures, way-finding, and various rotating and roving live performances along a visually implied “lazy river.” The Lazy River exhibition served as an ode to this pillar of summertime nostalgia and family fun, as well as to the visual look of summer theme parks worldwide. Visitors to Artscape were invited to experience these installations and sculptural sites along the river’s edge, around the river’s-bend, through choppy, piranha-infested waters, smooth sailing, and everything in between.

In keeping with the water theme celebrated throughout this year’s Artscape festival, participating visual and performing artists have drawn inspiration from theme parks, water parks, as well as a variety of concepts dealing with the use of water as entertainment. Lazy River created an active environment, a community of Lazy River villagers if you will, existing amongst artist-designed freestanding sculptural elements, water-propelled contraptions, props, site-specific and/or participatory installations, rides, mini-stages, and photo-ops. This environment will be accented by the appearance of live performers interacting with Artscape-going adults and children alike as they traverse the area encompassed by Lazy River.

The Lazy River was curated by Maggie Villegas and Melissa Webb.

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Featured Artists:

K Bell Design
Signage, mapping, Lazy Hat and Lazy Guy mascot design for Lazy River

Jacob Budenz: #fortunez
Jacob Budenz, the mermaid witch, MIGHT read your #fortunez. She can’t promise to be polite, or to try hard, or to care about you at all, but she can promise to, like, be there or whatever, okay?

Theresa Columbus and Aaron Smith: Cool Water Theater
Cool Water Theater invites Artscape visitors to participate in, or watch short theatrical pieces on a stage in front of a waterfall. Participants will either perform pre-written scripts or have the opportunity to help create and record a short skit with musical accompaniment. The stage will also be graced with acts by local artists and performers.

Club Sandwich: Swim Club Sandwich
Performers: Amy Longcrier, Kelly Marburger, Eric Sipes and Asa Keiswetter, Comedic acrobatic performance
Swim Club Sandwich is a playful exploration of simulated swimming, water ballet and water sports through acrobatics. Acrobats will swim through the air, ride simulated water skis and wow the crowd with amazing stunts. A few lucky visitors will have the opportunity to take air-swimming lessons with the performers.

Naomi Davidoff: Critter Creek Carousels and The River Gardeners
Both works created in collaboration with visual artist Kristie Winther, Visual anchor umbrella design/fabrication, and roving costumed performance.

The Critter Creek Carousels create a resting stop for meandering visitors along the pathway of the Lazy River. These transformed picnic tables offer shade and curiosity under unique carousel-themed umbrellas. Pedestrians can engage with their very own river creature sculpture while absorbing the creative surroundings along the Lazy River.

The River Gardeners roam throughout the current of the Lazy River, tending to a plot of synthetic aquatic flora and encouraging the harvest to grow. The flowers blossoming from the performer’s costumes and set pieces are created from recycled plastic bottles, reflecting upon the massive amount of plastic in our oceans juxtaposed with human expectation that our waters remain fruitful and bountiful with life. Lazy River attendees are encouraged to participate during the aquatic harvest whirl as the River Gardeners perform their blessing of floral fertility across the Lazy River.

Liz Swanson, Al Zeruba, Justin Miller, Ryan Smith (Dialog +): S.S. Nest
With musical performances by: Matt Muirhead, McKenzie Elizabeth Ditter of Canopy, Justin and Becka Miller of The Immortal Jellyfish, Ryan Smith of Thoth, and many more TBA performances throughout the weekend. Participatory sound installation
The S.S. Nest is a highly interactive installation in collaboration with sound artist Justin Miller. The public is encouraged to play on handmade instruments along with experimental musicians. Inside this wildly colorful, large enclosure, there will be opportunities for people of all ages to contribute to the joyful celebration, express themselves, and strengthen our community.

Phaan Howng: You Are Welcome, For Now…, Water sculpture
Phaan Howng presents anachronistic landscape formations from her post apocalyptic world. By combing her toxic palate of “Earth beyond our times” juxtaposed with the present day, patrons can hang out with her prophetic visions all while being able to cool off with it’s nice misting features.

Zac Lawhon: Droplets, With visual artists Rob Lee and Jackie Lesh.
Performers: Isa Leal and the Iron Rainbow Dance Troupe
Installation / performance
Come stand, sit, or army-crawl through domed structures representing large water droplets on a grassy lawn. Run your hands over hundreds of water balloons wiggling on the inside, and view dancers as they envision the process of a water molecule’s journey through the body. Droplets portrays the importance of surface tension and connection for living life!

Labbodies: The Water Bearers
Primary performers and visual artists: Ada Pinkston and Hoesy Corona, Participatory installation / performance
The Water Bearers meditates on the commodification of water in modern times. Once known for their vessels used to symbolically and eternally pour life and spiritual food into the world, the water bearers find themselves in a dry spell. Participants are invited to navigate through a synthetic river in hopes of finding fresh water to restore the spirit of the world.

Kristin McWharter: The Raft, Participatory performance
The Raft is a guided performance that leads participants down along the Lazy River and into the turbulent waters of Artscape, where floating guests will encounter misting sprays, swells of choppy anticipation, ripples of exuberance, and rapid waters. Groups may brave these waters head on, or they may suddenly all change direction simultaneously as though they were a school of fish avoiding predators, sea monsters, or toward the enticing bait of a nearby pina-colada stand.

Kate O’ Brien and Hannah Jeramiah: Flowhive, Group performance
Flowhive is a frenzy of futility: a dance work where blue-clad performers take flight with salvaged plastic bags. Pushed and pulled by wind and will power, dancers employ parachute body-extensions to harvest invisible slices of color.

Samantha Rausch: Colors of Colours Fountain an Ode to the Birth of Venus, Water sculpture
Inspired by Botticelli’s painting The Birth of Venus, and by the creation story of the mythological Venus. Color of Colours Fountain is a vibrant interpretation of an emerging form of “beauty”, created by blending an inventive assemblage of materials. Through a kaleidoscope of saturated color and a playful means of combining elements of the familiar with the unexpected, Rausch works to create a unique representation of the funky but beautiful contemporary divine.

Fred Scharmen: Charismatic Megafauna: Future Manatees, Inflatable sculptural elements
Starting in 1994, biologists from the US Geological Survey have observed regular visits to the Chesapeake Bay from a manatee they’ve named “Chessie.” Usually more common in lower latitudes, manatees have been seen with increasing frequency in northern waters warmed by climate change. This parade of ghostly virtual manatees anticipates a future time when the Bay and rivers around it have become more tropical, and play host to herds of these majestic creatures.

Romy Smith: The Lazy River Maenad Estuary, Installation / performance
Relax with the Lazy River villagers and watch the river go by from the cool shade of The Lazy River Maenad Estuary. It’s the number one hang out zone for Lazy River Villagers on land. Kick back and stay hydrated in this refreshing spot.

Daniel Van Allen: Raharariwa – The Giant Amazon River Serpent and Village, Installation/performance
Raharariwa, a mythical anaconda-like river monster from people living on Brazil’s Xingo river, explores these ancient and modern systems by combining traditional and modern earth friendly motifs. Visitors may enter Raharariwa and walk and crawl through her enormous body, hear music and spoken word, have their bodies painted and dance! All with a South American rain forest theme.

The Curators
Maggie Villegas is the Public Art Project Specialist for the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, where she manages the Baltimore Mural Program and the PNC Transformative Art Prize. She is the co-founder of EMP Collective and a practicing theatre artist and producer.

Melissa Webb is the Exhibitions Manager for The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, coordinating exhibitions for School 33 Art Center, The Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower Gallery and the Top of the World Observation Level Gallery. She teaches garment and performance-based courses as an adjunct professor for the Fiber Department at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and is a practicing fiber artist working in the areas of participatory installation, costume, and performance.