Acknowledgements The people of KEEPING WATCH on WATER: City of Creeks

Nancy Pierce photographs McDowell Creek.

KEEPING WATCH on WATER: City of Creeks has been a collaboration among multiple partners and creative minds. We’re grateful for the generous assistance we’ve received from many quarters during the past 18 months

Project coordinators

CRISTA CAMMAROTO, director of galleries for the UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture, is an established curator. Among her accomplishments:  Artistic director and curator of The Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film; reviewer for Critical Mass/Photo Lucida (a Portland, Ore.-based national review); art curator for the 2010 and 2011 TEDxCharlotte events. Her academic experience includes Queens University of Charlotte and Photography Department chair at both Oregon College of Arts and Craft and Central Piedmont Community College. An interdisciplinary artist, she takes an active role in CORE Visual Art, an exhibition group of former McColl Center residents. Residencies include Little Italy Arts Center, McColl Center and Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado. Her work is in permanent collections of the Denver Art Museum, UNC Charlotte and the Bechtler Collection.

JUNE LAMBLA manages Lambla artWORKS collab, an independent arts curatorial firm creating collaborations between artists and the larger community. Environmental advocacy and social responsibility are at the core of recent work, such as RIVER DOCS: A Catawba River Narrative, curated for The Light Factory Museum of Photography and Film and the Culture and Heritage Museums of York County, and Contemporary Landscapes, Crossing Boundaries, curated for McColl Center for Visual Art.  Previous projects she managed earned a 2009 national award in The BCA Ten: Best Companies Supporting the Arts in America; the McColl Award; a North Carolina Governor’s Award for Arts in Business; and were featured in Art for Work, 1993, published by Harvard Business School Press.

MARY NEWSOM is an award-winning journalist, writer and editor specializing in urban growth, urban design and environmental topics.  After decades at the Charlotte Observer, where she was an editorial board member and op-ed columnist, she joined the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute in 2011, where she directs online communications.  She created, where her work appears regularly. Her work has also been published by The,, and Planning magazine.  Newsom is a consulting editor for, a global news service focusing on urban innovations. She serves on the board of the nonprofit Center for the Living City and is a trustee at the Charlotte Museum of History. In 2007-08 she was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard.

The writers

AMBER VEVERKA is a local writer with more than 20 years’ experience in print journalism. Her writing about science and the environment explores how our lives are intertwined with the natural world and how history has shaped the landscape. She works as an environmental educator through the Central Carolinas Master Naturalist program and the N.C. Environmental Education certification program. She volunteers in environmental education at local schools, introducing children to the wonders of nature and writes about the natural world at her website,

MAE ISRAEL is a veteran journalist who worked for nearly 20 years as an editor at The Washington Post, specializing in local news coverage. As an editor and reporter for nearly a decade previously with The Charlotte Observer, she covered the area’s growth, development and transportation issues. An award-winning journalist, she graduated from UNC Chapel Hill. She currently is an independent journalist based in Charlotte.

The artists

STACY LEVY is a Pennsylvania sculptor interested in patterns and processes of the natural world.  Using art and science, she designs site-specific installations that provoke an awareness of the movement of nature and our role in it. Using man-made and natural materials, she promotes a playful but profound coexistence between the viewer and the environment. Her background in sculpture, landscape architecture and forestry allows many of her works to remediate damaged sites or suggest positive, healthful solutions. In Watershed Pantry, she invites viewers to observe water samplings from dozens of local creeks.  With Passage of Rain, her on-site educational project for City of Creeks, Levy focuses on the passage of rain and storm water through the west Charlotte Revolution Park neighborhood.

She has studied at The Architectural Association in London and at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, Maine. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sculpture at Yale University and a master in fine arts in sculpture at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia.

NANCY PIERCE is a Charlotte-based free-lance photographer. A University of Minnesota journalism graduate, she was a newspaper staff photographer until launching her own business. Clients include editorial, corporate and nonprofit groups. Among her commissioned projects: RIVER DOCS: A Catawba River Narrative (2007) for the Light Factory, Changing Places (Levine Museum of the New South) and Families of Abraham, shown at Levine Museum and internationally. She donates time and skills to environmental groups such as Catawba Lands Conservancy, Catawba Riverkeeper and NC Rail-Trails.

BEN PREMEAUX operates the smARTlab, doing video production, photography, and working with digital media. He also manages the media lab at McColl Center for Art + Innovation, helping artists realize their digital visions for a project. He launched the smARTlab after 12 years’ teaching computer graphic design in public schools. He has a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, with a focus on painting and computer graphics, from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a bachelor’s in arts education from Appalachian State University.

MAREK RANIS is a Charlotte interdisciplinary artist focused on large-scale changes in our environment. Extensive travel and research on climate change have focused his efforts to examine both the relationship of human actions on those changes and the philosophical and political basis for those actions. Sculptural installations and video elaborate on those themes. He hopes to inspire self-reflection by viewers rather than express a particular point of view.  In his video STEWARDSHIP, working with Tina Katsanos, Ranis investigates perceptions of the importance of creeks and water, focusing on how individuals’ religious or spiritual beliefs and rituals affect their actions. He trained in art and design at the Lyceum of Fine Arts, Wroclaw, Poland, and received his MFA in Sculpture and Studio Art at the Academy of Fine Arts there.  He is an assistant professor at the UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture.

LAUREN ROSENTHAL is an artist focused on building an audience’s environmental awareness and helping the audience identify with and within their natural systems. Eco-mapping is her primary method of investigating relationships between organisms and their environment. One common subject is water – especially rivers and watersheds – as a metaphor for interconnectivity. Her unconventional maps interpret hydrological data to show the flow and form of a total watershed.  As viewers orient themselves they begin to see the total social/biological system.  With Mecklenburg Creeks Drawing for City of Creeks, Rosenthal focuses on the watersheds that shaped Charlotte history, its neighborhoods, transportation, homes and industries. In her online Home Basin: Charlotte, she offers residents the chance to identify with and investigate their home creekshed.

Rosenthal earned her BFA at Washington University, St. Louis, and her MFA at UNC Chapel Hill. She lives in New Jersey.

Essential members of the team

WES LAWING is a Charlotte native, and web developer for the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. He collaborated with artist Lauren Rosenthal to create Home Basin: Charlotte / An Interactive Guide to Urban Creeksheds and

GARRETT NELSON is a master’s degree student at UNC Charlotte, studying economic geography. He grew up in Charlotte and has a bachelor’s degree from N.C. State. His GIS mapping skills and video editing assistance were key contributions.

TENILLE TODD is a master’s degree history student at UNC Charlotte, specializing in public history and trained in archiving and oral histories. She researched much of the creeks’ history, recorded video oral histories from almost two dozen people and played an essential role in editing the oral history videos. She grew up in Pierson, Fla., where her family has a large orange grove and grows ferns. Her history degree is from the University of Central Florida; her thesis was on African-American education in the South.  She minored in biology.

MEG FREEMAN WHALEN is director of communications and external relations for the College of Arts + Architecture at UNC Charlotte. Formerly director of public relations and community engagement for the Charlotte Symphony, she was a freelance arts writer for the Charlotte Observer and arts editor for Charlotte magazine before joining the symphony. She taught in the music department at Queens University of Charlotte from 1994 to 2013. She has presented papers at regional and national conferences and has published in scholarly journals such as the Journal of the Conductors’ Guild, the Journal of the North Carolina Association of Historians, and Women of Note. Most recently, she contributed the Foreword for North Carolina Musicians: Photographs and Conversations by Daniel Coston (McFarland Press, 2013).

DANELLE HAGGERSON was an academic intern through the Department of Anthropology at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute during fall 2014, working with data analysis and data visualization. She graduated in December.

And our thanks to …

Many other people gave generously of their time, expertise and memories. Among those to whom we owe gratitude:

Memories of the Cherry community: Doris Dennis, Ruthie Hamlin, Charles Patton, Everett Taylor, Richard Perry, Sylvia Bittle-Patton.

Memories of the Grier Heights community: Jonathan Belton, Hawthorn Broadway, L.C. Clifton, Marvin Price, George Wallace, Willie Davis, Gloria Green, Barbara Simpson.

Memories of the Reid Park community: Curley Hall, Rickey Hall, Laura Rankin.

Memories of the Hidden Valley community: Ron Hare

Other oral history interviewees: Wenonah Haire, Ed and Pozy Menhinick, Rusty Rozzelle, Pat Stith, Bill Stokes, Les Todd,  Grady Walker.

Research librarians: Library staffs at the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Main Library, the Special Collections staff at UNC Charlotte’s J. Murrey Atkins Library, and Maria David at the Charlotte Observer.

The oral histories will be given to Special Collections at UNC Charlotte’s J. Murrey Atkins Library.

Special assistance from: Sandra Clinton and David Vinson, UNC Charlotte Department of Geography and Earth Sciences; Alisa Wickliff, UNC Charlotte Center for STEM Education; Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services officials Daryl Hammock, David Kroening, Craig Miller, Kristen O’Reilly, Rusty Rozzelle, Tim Trautman*; Barry Gullet and Angela Lee of Charlotte Water; John Chesser, formerly of the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute.

KEEPING WATCH Sponsors: Arts & Science Council,  Blumenthal Foundation,  Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services,  Foundation For The Carolinas,  Olga and Jay Faison, The Graduate School at UNC Charlotte,  Integrated Network for Social Sustainability, The John L. and James S. Knight Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture, UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, WFAE 90.7fm.

KEEPING WATCH Community partners: Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation,  City of Charlotte,  Charlotte Museum of History,  Clean Air Carolina, Discovery Place,  Greater Mount Sinai Baptist Church,  McColl Center for Art + Innovation, Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation, North Carolina Science Festival, Revolution Park Neighborhood Association, Slow Food Charlotte, Sustain Charlotte, UNC Charlotte Center for STEM Education,  UNC Charlotte Office of Sustainability.

* A note of disclosure: The Charlotte storm water education office of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services donated funds to assist with artist Stacy Levy’s educational project in Revolution Park, Passage of Rain.