img_1312The Locust Grove Arts Alliance was very proud to be the host of the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibit Water/Ways and to offer activities associated with it in 2019. Marsha Whalen Downum and Shaun Perkins wrote the grant, and Locust Grove was chosen by the Oklahoma Humanities Council as one of 5 towns in Oklahoma to receive this opportunity.



During the exhibit, we offered a writing activity where anyone could brainstorm words that they saw in the exhibit that stood out to them. They then could write a poem using those words. We received 141 total poems. We have winners in two categories. Each winner received a cash prize from the Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry.

Ages 12 & Under

1st Place, Klare Barrett, Locust Grove, Age 11


Water is wet,
Water is cold,
Water is always in our soul.

Water is green,
Water is blue,
Water belongs everywhere.
So do you.

Fish love water,
Turtles love water,
Everyone, everywhere
Loves water, too.

2nd Place, Jeremiah Auguston, Peggs, Age 11

Take Care of Water

When water flows
It create landforms.
Those landforms provide
Places for life to live.
Water provides balance.
Water is eternal.
Water is what keeps
Everything balanced.
So let the water flow.

3rd Place, Elijah Cook, Peggs, Age 11

Water Fuels Our Lives

Water affects us in the greatest of ways,
Our culture, our lives, and how we live.

It provides us with life and energy.
It helps provide us with the food we eat.

And we must protect it
To keep our ways.

Ages 13 and Up

1st Place, Kristen Morgan, Salina, Age 17


Water grows community
Water grows trees
Water growns humanity
Sustaining all the seas.

Water forms a boundary
Water forms a way
Water forms a source of life
Keeping death at bay.

2nd Place, Jackson Shupper, Tulsa, Age 13

We are Water, Water is Us

Water is central to humanity.
It flows with us and within us.
Water is gentle and nourishing, cleansing even,
Essential and vital.
It is what runs and flows through our life,
Through work and through our bodies.
Water moves the world.

3rd Place, Destiney Walker, Spiro, Age 17

Water in Our Life

Like the sky before the thunder
The rain can sweep you under.
Built by man or nature,
The waves will make you wonder.

Some people catch the waters.
Most people watch the showers.
We can’t survive without it.
It is the water in our life.

The exhibit closed on Dec. 6, 2019, at the VFW Building, 116 Broadway, in downtown Locust Grove. The LGAA sponsored several activities, projects, and contests to accompany the exhibit. The activities are explained below.

Activities, Contests & Events:

Plastic Bottle Art Contest & Winners

Water Poem Contest & Winners

Oct. 21-Dec. 6: Exhibit is open to public, VFW Hall

Oct. 21: Opening Celebration w/Water-Themed Karaoke & Awards Ceremony, VFW, 6 p.m.

Oct. 26: Harvesting Rain: An Informative Talk w/Jeri Fleming, Wonder City Coffee, Noon

Nov. 2-3: Blue Thumb Stream Monitoring Workshop, Wonder City Coffee, 8:30-4:30

Nov. 11: History of the GRDA w/Justin Alberty & Special Veterans Recognition, VFW, 6 p.m.

Nov. 22: Wonder City Wonders Chautauqua, Wonder City Coffee, 6:00 p.m.

More about Water/Ways:

The Smithsonian’s Water/Ways exhibition dives into water–an essential component of life on our planet, environmentally, culturally, and historically.

In societies across the globe, water serves as a source of peace and contemplation. Many faiths revere water as a sacred symbol. Authors and artists are inspired by the complex character of water – a substance that is seemingly soft and graceful that is yet a powerful and nearly unstoppable force.

Water also plays a practical role in American society. The availability of water affected settlement and migration patterns. Access to water and control of water resources have long been a central part of political and economic planning. Human creativity and resourcefulness provide new ways of protecting water resources and renewing respect for the natural environment.

If you would like to get involved with this exhibit in any capacity, please contact LGAA President & Water/Ways project director Jennifer Henson, jenniferh@rae-corp.com, 918-530-1902, or Water/Ways site coordinator Shaun Perkins, okiestoryteller@gmail.com, 918-864-9152.


Water/Ways has been made possible in Locust Grove, Oklahoma, by Oklahoma Humanities.

Water/Ways is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and State Humanities Councils nationwide. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

Water/Ways was adapted from an exhibition organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (www.amnh.org), and the Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul (www.smm.org), in collaboration with Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland; The Field Museum, Chicago; Instituto Sangari, Sao Paulo, Brazil; National Museum of Australia, Canberra; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada; San Diego Natural History Museum; and Science Centre Singapore with PUB Singapore.


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