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LMRD 808 ~ Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
"Voice of the Lower Mississippi River"
~~~Friday, Nov 6, 2020~~~

The design choices are endless...

Calling all artists! And creative types! And anyone who is willing to send a doodle, a sketch, or an idea. Deadline is in 2 weeks, Tues, Nov 17th.

Let your imagination go free...

Above: canoe-carver Churchill Clark is endlessly creative with his ideas...

Design the canoe as a river canoe, a lake canoe, an ocean canoe -- or spirit canoe -- whatever you "see" is what is right!

Do a Google image search for "dugout canoe" for more ideas!

Calling for Submissions: Help us find the Spirit in the Log!

Grandfather Cypress awaiting its form to be carved -- Clarksdale, Miss, banks of Sunflower River next to Quapaw Canoe Company

We're taking submissions through Tuesday, Nov 17th. All ideas will be collected and then we'll vote on them live, on Wed Nov 18th, during the next BEAM session. Scan or photograph and send all submissions to Allie Grant and John Ruskey

Project made possible through our partners Mississippi Arts Commission, the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, and the Lower Mississippi River Foundation.

Story thus far:

Last month we dropped the dead-standing Louisiana Bald Cypress that we have lovingly come to call "Grandfather Cypress."

Now we are studying the 21 foot trunk section. It is sitting in the field next to the Quapaw Canoe Company on the banks of the Sunflower River. We will begin carving this month. I had a vision of a Buck Deer Canoe, based on a personal animal encounter. But that is just one idea. We want to see yours!

We need your help finding the Spirit in the Log! Here are dimensions, and shape: 21' long, 4' diameter at butt, 3' at crown.

Butt end (4 feet in diameter)

Crown end (3 feet in diameter)

The dugout canoe is an 8,000 year old tradition, and full of creative possibility. Approach the log as a sculptor would a lump of clay, or a raw block of marble. What is the spirit contained within? What form is yearning to be articulated through our carving? What design best reflects the spirit of our community? Our biota? The spirit of mother earth?

In the traditio, animal spirits are often articulated, but do not limit yourself in any way! I know a dugout canoe carver (Churchill Clark) who very successfully carves human faces, and sometimes abstract shapes.

Here is a sample of canoes I have carved over they decades. The first one, "King Beaver," is the only one I carved entirely alone, and it took me 20 years to finish! All others involved a community of carvers. Grandfather Cypress will be a community project for Clarksdale, MS and Helena, AR, and anyone else who wants to come participate.


Our Partners:

Lower Mississippi River Foundation is dedicated to promoting stewardship of the Lower and Middle Mississippi River through deep engagement.

Mississippi Arts Commission invests in our state’s makers through a variety of grant programs supporting nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and individual artists. Through the arts, diverse communities of all sizes can better identify shared values, create vibrant public spaces, and enhance the effectiveness of schools. The arts also attract visitors who leave with a strong, positive image of Mississippi. Fostering excellence in the arts provides the inspiration to generate a higher quality of life for all citizens.


The Walter Anderson Museum of Art inspires discovery, imagination, and community-building on the Gulf Coast and beyond through programs, exhibitions, and outreach; and embodies Walter Anderson’s vision for societies in harmony with their environments. "Our mission is to empower lifelong curiosity and connection to the natural world through the art of Walter Anderson and kindred artists."


1Mississippi River Citizen Program: River Citizens are people who want to clean up and protect America’s greatest River. Whether in armchairs or wading boots, River Citizens protect the River by speaking up on its behalf and caring for it in simple ways that make a big difference. Together, we can protect the River for future generations. Take the first step today and sign up for free as a River Citizen at 1Mississippi, can the River count on you?"


Balance, Diversity, Democracy

Quapaw Canoe Company core values are balance, diversity, and democracy, which all derive from our experience paddling big canoes on the big waters of North America. Balance is exemplified by the passage of our canoes. Everything we do is about keeping even keel. To do otherwise is dangerous to our health and well-being. Pandemic and police brutality are symptoms of the imbalance we seek to counteract in our services and work as canoe builders, guides & outfitters. Other imbalances include species loss, global warming, and loss of wild places. Diversity for us includes all peoples and all creatures great and small. We have always created equal access for all. Our staff reflects our regional demographics, around 60% Black and 40% White. Since 1998 we have made it our mission to make sure all communities found along the Lower Mississippi River enjoy equal access to the wonders of the big river, and the life changing experience of the wilderness. Our adventures practice the best qualities of Democracy. Everyone in the big canoe sets aside their differences and paddles together for the good of the whole. We believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Inherent in life is the right to breathe clean air, the right to drink clean water, the right to eat good food, and the right to live in healthy shelter, in healthy communities.