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Ben Peterson

Ben Peterson picture

MA, Social Design

Class of 2012

Creator, Wetwalks and Waterwalls Project, Batlimore, MD

“Education and knowledge-building through teaching materials, mural projects, and mapping are essential to developing an understanding of our role in the water cycle and the importance of conserving water. By making the water system visible on the street to create interest and provide knowledge, Wetwalks and Waterwalls will be a constructive and creative way to address water conservation within the Harris Creek Watershed." 

Ben Peterson ’12 has found a way to blend his twin interests in art and environmental justice. The Wetwalks and Waterwalls project he is spearheading, funded in part through a grant from MICA’s Launch Artists in Baltimore (LAB) fellowship, will help showcase the relationship between human actions and the health of the Chesapeake Bay and affected neighborhoods. It will use art and design to foster stewardship and a broader understanding of water systems. Peterson hopes that he can creatively promote water conservation in East Baltimore, where MICA PLACE is located.

The project involves two phases. Wetwalks is a map and educational walking tour that highlights important conservation sites in the watershed. Waterwalls is a series of mural paintings of water and the water system, designed to be educational spaces that trigger community and environmental improvements. It builds on work that Peterson completed while a student in MICA’s MA in Social Design program, where he worked with professor Katie O’Meara and produced a large scale, portable, multimedia painting installation that could serve as a backdrop and rallying point during water cleanup events.

Peterson knows that his work will take a lot of collaboration to complete. He is working with Blue Water Baltimore, Banner Neighborhoods, Patterson Park Neighborhood Association, and Madison East End Community Association. He will also work extensively with area public school children. He believes that by making the water path visible, he can help people understand how its health and the health of the Chesapeake Bay are intertwined.

Peterson has long been interested in developing creative connections between art and science. His focus during graduate school was learning how to address societal inequalities by presenting information in a clear, digestible form.