The Art Arc
How can boatbuilding serve society, you ask? How about monitoring water quality! Apprentices are currently hard at work on a project led by Seitu Jones, Saint Paul-based artist and one of the founders of Urban Boatbuilders. The Art Arc, as it has been dubbed, will serve as a water quality research vessel through the University of Minnesota.
At the beginning of the project, Seitu met with Apprentices to design and create plans for the vessel — one of the longest Urban Boatbuilders has ever created at just over 20 feet. The boat designs have shifted over the course of the project, from a trimaran (a three-hulled boat similar to a pontoon) to a catamaran (two-hulled). Apprentices have been involved in almost every stage of the design process, and are now beginning to construct the hulls. The goal is to have it on the water before Minnesota’s local lakes and rivers freeze once again.
It is more important than ever to ensure that the beauty and cleanliness of Minnesota’s many waterways remains intact for future generations. Our Apprentices know this better than many — getting to experience the joys of Minnesota boating culture via the boats they constructed themselves each year on river trips and in the Boundary Waters. We are thrilled that they also get to be involved in this project, which will help gather data that will be used to keep our waterways clean! Stay tuned with Urban Boatbuilders to see the finished product later this year!
Keeping the River Clean
Water quality has been a theme for the Apprentices in the past couple weeks – with both the Art Arc project (see above story) and their recent participation in the 2016 Great Mississippi Cleanup. The Cleanup is an annual, traveling effort to eliminate debris from areas of the river where it tends to build up – namely along floodplains and rocky banks. So on Wednesday, June 15, two Youth Instructors and one graduated Apprentice pulled on their rubber boots and wrestled their way through the buggy, prickly grasses and trees along a river bank across from South Saint Paul, and went to work picking up trash.
A huge paddleboat carried hundreds of volunteers along the Mississippi to the designated sites, and held lunch for them upon their return. Among the interesting items discovered by the Urban Boatbuilders crew were a tube of sparkly pink lip gloss, a flip flop, a State Fair cup, and a muskrat skull. Our crew also encountered newscasters from WCCO – check out Michael and Lily on the news here in a segment titled "Keeping the Mississippi Shore Clean is Hard Work".
The event was organized by Conservation Corps members, who kept things running smoothly. At the onset of the day, after a welcome from the Saint Paul Mayor's Office, a representative kicking off the Cleanup said, “Let’s send the river south a little cleaner than it showed up, and maybe our friends down in Iowa will do the same.” Our youth helped do just that!
Along the St. Croix River: A Photo Journey Boat Joke of the Month
What's the least playful part of a boat?