The Sheepscot River is located in the heart of Maine’s midcoast and flows 66 miles from wellspring to mouth, Freedom to Georgetown, ultimately feeding into the Gulf of Maine.  The river runs through 26 villages and towns to the Atlantic ocean. It is a vital ecosystem which supports fish, wildlife, farms and recreation. . .  The river is vital in the core identity of this place, but it is not understood as integrally as it was when we rode on it and fished within its waters for our food. This project hopes to re-involve the public and inspire an understanding of connection and belonging to the river, developing a long-lasting identification and desire for conservation for this resource which feeds us all. We also want to collect old and new stories of the river and share them digitally.

In 2015 Susan Bickford initiated a pilot program inviting 14 local artists; dancers, musicians, visual and media artists to retreat at a river camp in Sheepscot Village. The goal of this group was “not to impose ourselves on this natural wonder, but to listen, immerse ourselves and become part of the concert of nature that is always already going on”. This group considered the season, weather, moon, tides, sun, insects, birds and fish. “We forged alliances with landowners, and ‘performed’ for three days with the falls as our proscenium. We shot our exploration from 5 cameras. We have partnered with the Mid-coast Conservancy to develop this idea, and present an annual public pageant, which honors our connection to the river.

Our inaugural retreat, Aug 25-27, 2015 will be followed by a five year interdisciplinary artists project. On August 16-18 we will reconvene, to offer regenerative workshops, and a public pageant, collecting images and stories as we re-connect with our natural and cultural neighbors.

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