2022 / Spring


In the spring of 2022, LAAW focused on two distinct watersheds in New Mexico.

We learned about and experienced the Rio Grande River, which flows within proximity to the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and the Gila River located in the far reaches of the Gila Wilderness in southwestern New Mexico.

Through creative research and exploration, we worked to develop a better understanding of these two unique systems – contemplating what they shared and how they differed. We engaged numerous individuals who are connected to these watersheds, from engineers and resource managers to artists and indigenous stewards. Our research and inquiries revealed many complex paradigms in relation to human needs and impacts on these ecological systems.

Through this comparative analysis, students worked both individually and collaboratively to develop a public exhibition, bringing forth creative responses from experiencing these watersheds. This exhibition, Confluence: Tracing Water through Creative Exchange, occurred at the Bachechi Open Space, along the Rio Grande River in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


Eleonora Edreva

Lillian Estes

Greta Gannon

Jessica Metz

Sofia Mendez Subieta

Adelaide Theriault

Leo Williams

Cameron Zarrabzadeh

Partners + Collaborators

Norm Gaume

Basia Irland

Julia Bernall

Jorge Garcia

Orien MacDonald

Field Journey 1

During our first field journey, we visited the upper portions of the Gila River, which gave us the opportunity to meander through the Middle Fork section of the river. Here we visited the Gila Cliff Dwellings to learn more about the indigenous Mogollon culture that prospered in this region circa 1200-1300.

Field Journey 2

On our second field journey, we visited the confluence of the Gila River and Turkey Creek. Here we were met by artist and educator, Orien MacDonald. Orien shared with us his knowledge of the region and provided a workshop on how to responsibly harvest materials and methods of weaving.

The remainder of the week spent at this site allowed participants to wander, experiment with practices and generate creative responses to this flourishing river basin.