Works for the Water Timeline

Give Me Water

Give Me Water

Late 1970’s: A Japanese Friend sends Sandy Spieler a booklet titled Give Me Water. It is the account of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As the cities burned trees, houses, bodies the people ran to the water screaming “give me water, give me water!”

The Black Hills International Survival Gathering

July 1980: The Black Hills International Survival Gathering. Lakota activists organize this international forum at the occasion of the USA’s proposal to mine uranium for the growing nuclear power industry out of the sacred land of Paha Sapa (the Black Hills).

Shows about Water

Shows about Water

1981, 1982, 1983: Inspired in part by the Black Hills Conference, In the Heart of the Beast Theatre (HOBT) devotes 3 years of work focused on Water in response to the growing degradation of the Mississippi River, and the proliferation of nuclear power plants in close proximity to water sources.

Circle of Water Circus

Circle of Water Circus

May-October 1983: An expanded team of artists – with 25 adults, 5 children, and 2 dogs – joins the HOBT company to creates the spectacular “Circle of Water Circus”. This Circus tours for 4 months from Brainerd to New Orleans on the Mississippi River.

Scensomar Theater Festival

Scensomar Theater Festival

Fall 1985: The Circle of Water Circus travels to Sweden and Denmark to perform for the Scensomar Theater Festival. Photo: “Wedding Cakes on the Water”, 1985, a scene from The Circle of Water Circus”

We Bend to the Water

We Bend to the Water

January – August 2003: Spieler designs We Bend to the Water, a Water Shrine with reverence and joy for how Water connects the World. The work grew as a quiet response to the beginning of the Iraqi War. The piece is commissioned by the McKnight Foundation for the lobby of their new offices on the Mississippi River. The shrine holds vials of Water received from all over the world, and 47 tiny paintings about Water. We Bend to the Water, Water Shrine by Sandy Spieler. Photo: Bruce Silcox

Homage to Water

March 2003: Dismayed by a growing global Water crisis, and global debates about water “ownership”, Spieler decides she will again focus on work about water. She creates Homage to Water with video artist Will Hommeyer for an experimental performance studio series at HOBT.

Voicing the River

Voicing the River

October 2003: Supported by an Archibald Bush Leadership Fellowship, Spieler begins an 18 month sabbatical, enrolling in a Masters Degree program at Bristol University in England. Much of her academic and performance work revolves around some aspect of water. Spieler stages her work as interactive experiential events intended to build dialogue as an intrinsic part of the performance experience.

Summers on the River

Summers on the River

Summer 2004: Beth Peterson directs HOBT’S summer youth program, Art Bus, with Water as the theme. In late summer 2005, Julie Boada, Masanari Kawahara, Sandy Spieler, and Duane Tougas stage a water event on the Mississippi River north of St. Cloud for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Out of Order!

Out of Order!

2005: Upon returning to HOBT, Sandy Spieler begins work with a team of artists (Masanari Kawahara, Duane Tougas, Julie Boada) asking the question of how to build awareness of the growing global crises of water within the water-rich state of Minnesota where water is often taken for granted.

Formulating Plans for Invigorate the Common Well

Mid-Late 2005: Spieler begins formulating plans for Invigorate the Common Well and to assemble an advisory team for the project.

Partnership with On the Commons

Spring 2006: Megan O’Hara connects HOBT with On the Commons, a group of activists organized to raise perception of the Commons as a way of inspiring bi-partisan participation in creating a healthy world. On the Commons (OTC) becomes a partner with Invigorate the Common Well.

HOBT & OTC Retreat

Summer 2006: HOBT artists and OTC members retreat together to begin the conceptual and practical work of building the performance episodes of Invigorate the Common Well.

With Water in Mind

March 11, 2007: Spieler’s article “Invigorate the Common Well” about the Commons of Water and public drinking fountains appears in the Minneapolis Star Tribune as part of the “With Water in Mind” series, and in the Alley newspaper. The fountain project gains national attention.

Come to the Well

Come to the Well

March 2007:  Come to the Well, Episode 1: Invigorate the Common Well – focuses on the essentialness of Water, Water Quantity, and the leverage of Water in war and peace.

Colleges Focus on Water

Spring 2007: Based on Invigorate the Common Well, three colleges in Winona, Minnesota begin plans for a year long focus on Water for 2008-9.

Somos Agua

Somos Agua

April-May 2007: Somos Agua/We Are Water, The 33rd Annual Mayday parade, focuses on the Commons of Water.

Beneath the Surface

Beneath the Surface

March 2008:  Beneath the Surface, Episode 2: Invigorate the Common Well – focuses on Water Quality and the Mississippi River Watershed, and the bottled water versus tap water debate. The company creates a circus of sorts, ending with what you can do possibilities for water stewardship. photos: Bruce Silcox

Minneapolis Commissions Drinking Fountains

April 2008: Based on inspiration from Invigorate the Common Well, the city of Minneapolis ends the use of water in plastic bottles for all official meetings. Minneapolis Art in Public Places Program together with the Department of Public Works commission eight artists to design public drinking fountains to be installed at different locations in the city.

Are You Thirsty?

Are You Thirsty?

Summer 2008: Gleaning some of the most vital images and educational aspects from the performance trilogy of Invigorate the Common Well, Sandy Spieler crafts the first touring version of Are You Thirsty? with the collaboration of Esther Ouray and Laurie Witzkowski. Through multiple casts, Are You Thirsty? remains a current touring show of the theatre. Current casts: Laurie Witzkowski, Esther Ouray, SteveAckerman. Past casts: Blake Love, Stacy Lee King, Alejandra Tobar-Alatriz, Ricardo Garcia Herreros, Seth Eberle.

Decorate the Well in Gratitude

Decorate the Well in Gratitude

July 2008: Decorate the Well in Gratitude, Episode 3 of Invigorate the Common Well, was a street and public art festival honoring Water. In the middle of the festival, HOBT dedicated the new public drinking fountain in its lobby.

City of Winona declares “WATER” as a focus

City of Winona declares “WATER” as a focus

2008-2009: Also based on inspiration from Invigorate the Common Well, the City of Winona declares “WATER” as a focus for an entire year with civic organizations, the 3 colleges, public schools, book clubs, the Frozen Film Festival, and several art organizations participating in “Our Drinking Fountains, Our Water”.

Water Water Everywhere

Water Water Everywhere

2009: Extending the reach of community wide residencies, artists partner with organizers in local towns to conduct Immersive Intergenerational Residencies of dialogue, art-making, and celebration exploring the local community’s Water within the context of the Global Water Commons: Water Water Everywhere.

Mural for the Water Hub at MN State Fair

Mural for the Water Hub at MN State Fair

Summer 2009: Sandy Spieler designs and paints a Mural for the Water Hub in the Eco-Experience Building at the Minnesota State Fair. Sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Health/Drinking Water Division. Painting support from Masa Kawahara, Paul Robinson, Blake Love, and Emma Byron for painting support.

Water Water Everywhere in Fargo – Moorhead

Water Water Everywhere in Fargo – Moorhead

2010: Water Water Everywhere enacted in Fargo ND-Moorhead MN, near the banks of the Red River, as a 3 week residency ending in two performances sponsored by the Plains Art Museum and Trollwood Art Center. With Sandy Spieler, Masa Kawahara, Paul Robinson, Stacy Lee King, Blake Love, Lindsay McCaw, Seth

Tienes Sed?

Tienes Sed?

2010: Tienes Sed? A Spanish language version of the touring show “Are You Thirsty, is made with Blake Love and Alejandra Tobar-Alatriz.

Its Substance Reaches Everywhere

Its Substance Reaches Everywhere

January 2011: Spieler builds a toy theatre show with Anne Fletcher about the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico during a residency at Southern Illinois University: Its Substance Reaches Everywhere. This performance raises the question “Is Oil more precious than Water?”

Great Lakes Gathering

2012: Spieler attends a gathering focused on The Great Lakes at Notre Dame University, Indiana, conducted by “On the Commons”- including Water activists (lawyers, artists, environmentalists, policy makers) from all over the Great Lakes region – USA and Canada.

Wonder of Water

Wonder of Water

June 2013: Spieler leads a performance of episodes specific to the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in Waterford, CT on the Long Island Sound as part of the National Puppetry Conference. With Larry Siegel and Blake Love and students from the National Puppetry Conference. photo: Richard Termine

Water, What If?!

Water, What If?!

Summer 2013: Two-day workshops for teachers—Water, What If?! —through the Perpich Center for Arts Education. After performances of Are You Thirsty? Spieler works with teachers using Art and imaginative thinking to delve into some of the most pressing Water issues of the day. Conducted in Winona, Minnesota.

Water Workshop in Sartell, MN

February 2014: One-day Water workshop with multi-generational participants of United Methodist Church, Sartell, MN following a performance of Are You Thirsty?.

Water and Oil Residency

July 2014: Spieler leads a Water and Oil Residency at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, North Dakota. All participants build tiny performances about the Oil Industry’s effect on Water. Spieler builds a new version of the toy theatre show Its Substance Reaches Everywhere.

James River Water Walk

May 2015: Spieler participates in the James River Water Walk in Virginia organized by Diane Stephenson. Sharon Day led this Water Walk offering prayers along the length of the James River from its headwaters to the Chesapeake Bay. This was in the lineage of many Nibi Walks led by Sharon Day to bring attention to the Water that sustains the world. You can find more info on this on the public Facebook page Nibi Walks.

Making a Hip Hop version of Are You Thirsty?

Fall 2015: Spieler works with Tish Jones and 3 young artists from TruArtSpeaks in making a Hip Hop version of Are You Thirsty? to tour to High Schools.