Commons Water Artist Profile: Melanie Ariens

Commons Water Artist Profile: Melanie Ariens


We asked Melanie a few questions about her relationship with Great Lakes Commons and our mission to establish the Great Lakes as a living commons. Here is what she told us:

Why is water important in your work?
I was raised as a camper and paddler, often spending vacations at our family cabin in the northwoods. Water issues have been especially important to me since college, when I was a Wingspread Fellow for the Honors Program at UWM. Through this program I attended conferences that were about the Great Lakes, including a meeting of the International Joint Commission. This made me very aware of the Great Lakes system as a whole and of how deeply dependent we are on this resource.

How was it you became involved?
I have been involved in environmental activism, focusing on pesticide reform for the past 14 years. Nature and the environment have always been important themes in my artwork, and for the past four years I have focused on the Great Lakes and freshwater issues. The work is my way of merging art and environmental activism, creating a unique and unexpected ways of engaging viewers to generate concern and spur stewardship. 

Read the full profile at the Great Lakes Commons Blog at the link below:

Milwaukee Water Commons is a cross-city network that fosters connection, collaboration and broad community leadership on behalf of our waters. We promote stewardship of, equitable access to and shared decision-making for our common waters.