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LMRD No. 681, Mon, Aug 27, 2018
Sunflower Avenue Block Party
Smithsonian Water/Ways
Coming This Friday, Aug 31, 6-8pm

~Grand Opening Celebration ~
Friday, August 31st, 6-8pm

Sunflower Avenue Block Party
In Front of Quapaw Canoe Co.


Bluesman Extraordinaire:
James "Super Chikan" Johnson

~~ and ~~

Paddler, Dancer, Poet:
Wang Ping

Thank you to our celebration sponsor: Levon's Bar & Grill
(on same block of Sunflower Avenue in downtown Clarksdale!)

~Made possible by the Mississippi Humanities Council~

~Presented by the Lower Mississippi River Foundation~

With the partnership of 1Mississippi and the Mississippi River Network

Wang Ping: Spirituality and Rivers

Saturday, Sept 1, 12noon - 1pm

Wang Ping: Spirituality and Rivers

Saturday, Sept 1, 12noon - 1pm

Water/Ways at Quapaw Canoe Company

Mississippi River Interpretive Center

289 Sunflower Avenue, Clarksdale, Miss

Program Summary:

There are only two ways to live our life, according to Albert Einstein: one is as if nothing is a miracle; the other, as if everything is a miracle. Dr. Wang Ping will talk about how the impossible became possible—about things that happened in China and America to the people Wang Ping grew up with, met, and befriended along her journeys between these two distant rivers. This is also a story about water, alive with spirits and energy, giving birth to all sentient beings. We are water. The river runs through us. Those who live in harmony with water can ride the current of the universe—the secret of Tao, reaching all the way to the sea of miracles, one story, one droplet, and one wave at a time. A miracle is a state of mind, a way of living: how we face hardship, pain, and tragedies, how we transform them into fuels for our journey and transcend them into joy and hope. This is a program about how ordinary people perform miracles every day; how we are touched, touching, all the time, across oceans and continents, across time and space, through our stories.

Life of Miracles:

Wang Ping will display river flags that were made along the Yangtze and Mississippi Rivers and many other rivers at the site, talk about how these flags were made with the best intentions of the folks along rivers, have been traveling along the world rivers, blessing and being blessed by rivers, land, birds, fish, animals, and human spirits. She'll also read from her new book Life of Miracles along the Yangtze and Mississippi, from the story about paddling the lower Mississippi, and how she connected with the spirits of the mighty Mississippi.

About Dr. Wang Ping:

Wang Ping was born in China and came to the United States in 1986. Her publications of poetry and prose include Aching for Beauty, The Magic Whip, and The Last Communist Virgin. She won the Eugene Kayden Award for the Best Book in Humanities and the Minnesota Book Award. She is the recipient of an NEA grant, the Bush Artist Fellowship for poetry, the McKnight Fellowship for nonfiction, and many other honors. She is professor of English at Macalester College.

Clarksdale is also the only location on the Lower Miss to host the Smithsonian Water/Ways Exhibition in 2018. Chosen as one of six sites in the State of Mississippi, we at Quapaw Canoe Company are making it part of our 20th Anniversary Celebration.

Exhibition will be stationed for 6 weeks Aug 31 to Oct 13 in our Mississippi River Interpretive Center at 289 Sunflower, next to the fountain in Sunflower River Park. Made possible through the Mississippi Humanities Council, and presented by the Lower Mississippi River Foundation.

Water/Ways Grand Opening Celebration with Super Chikan is one week away, Friday Aug 31, 6-8pm, on Sunflower Avenue in front of Quapaw Clarksdale, thanks to Levon's Bar & Grill.

Wang Ping: Spirituality and Rivers, brown bag event, noon to 1pm, Sat Sept 1, Quapaw Clarksdale. Life of Miracles shared through stories, poetry and art (prayer flags created by citizens of Yangtze and Mississippi Rivers).

~~ Keep reading below for complete schedule ~~

Go to the Lower Mississippi River Foundation website for more info

Go to Water/Ways Facebook Page and join event

Special Event Schedule


Aug 31st 6- 8pm

Grand Opening

Featuring live blues by James “Super Chikan” Johnson

Quapaw Canoe Company

Sept 1st 12-1 pm

Spirituality and Rivers

Dr. Wang Ping, Macalester College

Quapaw Canoe Company

Sept 8th 12-1 pm

Ebbs and Flows in Mississippi History

Dr. Jim Geisen, MSU Dept of History

Quapaw Canoe Company

Sept 15th 12pm-1pm

Flood Control on the Big River

Paul Hartfield (USFW) Hank Burdine (Mississippi Levee Board) - panel discussion on the history and future of flood control

Quapaw Canoe Company

Sept 22nd

Smithsonian Museum Day

Free entry to Delta Blues Museum (with Museum Day ticket)

Delta Blues Museum

Sept 22nd 4-5:30pm

Relay of Voices

Dance and Storytelling Performance

Quapaw Canoe Company

Sept 29th 10-12pm

Life in the River

Explore the life that lives in the water with Ol' Miss Biology Dept.

Quapaw Canoe Company

Sept 29th 12- 1 pm

Youth Art Exhibit and Sale

Local youth artwork related to power of water on display

Meraki Coffee

Oct 6th 12 pm - 1 pm

Swimming and Civil Rights

Moderated panel discussion of the role swimming and pools in civil rights

Crossroads Cultural Center

Oct 7th 12pm - 1 pm

Mississippi River Blues

Exploration of how water led to the formation of the blues culture

Crossroads Cultural Center

Oct 6th and 7th

Sunflower River Paddle Day

Half off canoe, kayak and SUP rentals on the Sunflower River

Quapaw Canoe Company

Oct 13th 9 am-12

River Clean Up and Closing

Give back to the Sunflower and celebrate closing of WaterWays

Quapaw Canoe Company

Special Events - Helena

Sept 8th 2pm

The Mississippi Flood of 1927

Learn the history of the great flood

Delta Cultural Center

Sept 14th-15th

Plein Air Paint Out- Historic Helan Association

Art competition, show and classes

Downtown Helena

Sept 15th 9am

Kayak Test Drive

Try out a kayak for free!

Storm Creek Lake

Sept 22nd 8 am

Great Arkansas Clean Up

Clean ups in multiple locations.

Meet at Storm Creek or Helena River Park

Sept 23 3pm

Autumn Kayak Tour

Call to register 870-295-4040

Storm Creek Lake

Sept 27th 5pm

Youth Art Exhibit and Sale

Local youth artwork related to power of water on display

LMRF- 107 Perry St

Oct 7th 3 pm

Horner Neck Kayak Tour

Call to register 870-295-4040

MSR State Park Visitors Center

Oct 13th

Steamboat PPT & Kid’s Craft

Learn how steamboats have been used in the past

Delta Cultural Center

Visit for more details

Smithsonian Water/Ways Exhibition
Quapaw Canoe Company, Clarksdale, MS
Aug 31st - Oct 13th, 2018

For Immediate Release:
August, 24th 2018
Smithsonian Exhibit Set to Spark Conversations About Water in the Delta

This fall, a travelling Smithsonian exhibit invites residents of the Delta to explore the complex ways that water impacts their lives. The Water/Ways exhibit will be on display in Clarksdale from August 31st through October 13th.

The Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program brings exhibitions to small towns throughout the country. This year, the Water/Ways exhibit is touring Mississippi and is making it’s only stop in the Mississippi Delta in Clarksdale. Admission is free and open to the public.

Water/Ways is designed to be a starting point for conversations about water and how it impacts our lives. The exhibition explores the role of water in culture, spirituality, communities, and economics, as well as some of the current water issues on our planet and their potential impacts. Visitors are encouraged to share their own stories and discuss ideas sparked by the exhibit.

The exhibit in Clarksdale will focus on the relationship between the communities of the Delta and Mississippi River. Along with the exhibit, special programs in both Helena and Clarksdale will allow visitors to explore more deeply their own relationship to water. “The Mississippi River connects everyone in the Delta. We wanted to include events on both sides of the river to highlight the interconnectedness of our communities” said Shannon McMulkin, Director of the Lower Mississippi River Foundation.

Special events will include programming on flood control, the relationship between swimming and civil rights, the influence of water on art and music and more. A full list of special events is available at

The exhibition and special events were organized by the Lower Mississippi River Foundation with support from the Mississippi Humanities Council and many local partners. “This has been a very collaborative effort between local organizations and the event should draw attention to several different businesses and nonprofits in the area,” said McMulkin.

The space for the exhibit is being donated by Quapaw Canoe Company, a guiding and outfitting company that has been working to connect people to the Mississippi River for over 20 years. John Ruskey, the owner of Quapaw Canoe Company said about the exhibit, “while the Mississippi River is a spectacular example of the raw power and beauty of water, it is also little known and understood by its closest residents. Water/Ways will help bring greater understanding of the river, its sources, and its future to the people of the Delta, especially to our youth.”

A Grand Opening celebration will take place on August 31st from 6- 8 pm on the street in front of the exhibit. The event will include food vendors and live blues from James “Super Chikan” Johnson. The exhibit will be open to the public for tours and several visiting scholars will be available during the opening to answer questions about the Mississippi River.


The Lower Mississippi River Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to promoting stewardship of the Lower Mississippi River by providing opportunities for residents of the Delta to experience and learn about the river.

Water/Ways is made possible by the National Endowment for Humanities through the Mississippi Humanities Council.


Shannon McMulkin
Water/Ways Docents Needed!

We are looking for volunteers to act as docents for the Water/Ways exhibit. Water/Ways is a traveling Smithsonian exhibit that explores the relationship between humans and the water.

What will docents do?

Docents will work either on their own or with a partner to man the exhibit during open hours. They will greet visitors, answer questions and act as a tour guide if needed. We'll provide a scripted tour but docents are encouraged to add their own local knowledge and stories.

When are docents needed?

The exhibit will be in Clarksdale Aug 31st- Oct 13th and will be open Tuesday-Saturday. Each docent should plan to work one or more 4-hour shifts each week during the 6 weeks of the exhibit.

What else do I need to know?

Docent training will be on Wednesday, August 29th, 5- 6 pm. If you can't make the training but are still interested in being a docent we can schedule a different training time for you.

More information about Water/Ways is on our website

Contact Shannon McMulkin if you are interested in volunteering or with any questions:

Shannon McMulkin
Lower Mississippi River Foundation

End Note: amazing opportunity now open for a Chiropractor looking to relocate in established practice in cultural hotspot on the Mississippi River. Also, opportunity for someone wanting to run their own Canoe Guiding & Outfitting Business. Clarksdale, Miss, in the heart of the blues; we are the land of dreams. Respond to this email for more information.


The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch "Voice of the Lower Mississippi River" is published by the Quapaw Canoe Company, which is celebrating its 20th Anniversary Year in 2018. Photos and writing by John Ruskey, Mark River and others. Please write for re-publishing. Feel free to share with friends or family, but also credit appropriately. Go to and click on "Quapaw Dispatch" for viewing back issues of the LMRD.