The Art of Water Security

Free workshop during Art in the Open

The Art of Water Security is a free, community-engaged workshop to be held August 26 from 1–4 pm at Beaconsfield Carriage House during  this year’s Art in the Open (AITO) festival in downtown Charlottetown. The workshop presents an opportunity for mapmaking, drawing, discussion, picnic and art experience.

This workshop is the culmination of an artist commission project offered by Engage with Nature-Based Solutions (ENBS), a new initiative to support communities who apply nature-based solutions to their local lands and waters. Five artists across Canada were commissioned by ENBS to produce research creation projects that straddle the art/science divide and contribute to understandings of climate change and NBS. 

PEI’s Kirstie McCallum was selected as the East Coast artist for this project. Her work explores cycles of growth and decay, material agency and environmental sustainability. The event will provide an opportunity for McCallum to showcase her work and to engage with residents and local stewardship organizations on ideas surrounding climate, water, and NBS.

At the event, guest presenter Maleea Acker, post-doctoral research fellow with Environment and Climate Change Canada and Program Lead for ENBS (University of Victoria), will lead participants in a creative placemaking exercise that explores personal ties to local watersheds. The event will also feature presentations about Island ecosystems and waterways by local experts Charlotte Large, project manager of the PEI Watershed Alliance and Krystal Pyke, ClimateSense project manager at the UPEI School of Climate Change and Adaptation.

Natural systems—such as wetlands, estuaries, forests, and prairies—provide immense benefits to people and nature. They clean water, absorb floods, cool climate and remove carbon from the atmosphere. “Nature-based solutions” support planetary health and address societal challenges.

Through games, discussions, drawings and the creative use of maps, participants will share stories and make connections between human and non-human communities and the lifegiving freshwater sources of the Island. Learn about strategies that community groups and home-owners can use to encourage a sustainable water cycle in their backyards, neighbourhoods and community green spaces. Participants will talk about how to foster healthy and sustainable water relationships, and celebrate the important contribution art can make to discussions about climate change.

The event will close with a picnic in Victoria Park, next to the rain-catching sculpture, Cloudwell by Kirstie McCallum. Some refreshments will be provided, but blankets and snacks are welcome.

Email to RSVP for the workshop and visit to learn more about the research.