Traveling Exhibits: 2019-2021

Since 2011 artists Libby Reuter and Joshua Rowan have collaborated on defining what a watershed looks like and how people use them. They have traveled to 300 locations across the Mississippi-Missouri basin placing Reuter’s glass cairns in local watersheds photographed by Rowan. Every glass cairn is strategically placed in specifically scouted scenes of some of the most beautiful and unexpected sites along the upper Mississippi and Missouri rivers. The cairns are handmade sculptures assembled from household or antique glass. The cairns mark the watersheds metaphorically as fragile, beautiful, and deeply connected to everyday life. The large- scale, color photographs vividly bring to life the locale and intimately reveal the connections of the people and communities to their local watershed.

Watershed Cairns® exhibits offer large-scale, color photographs of site-specific, luminous glass cairns glowing in highly detailed landscapes prompting an emotional connection to area wetlands, ponds, streams, and even storm sewers. From the comment page on Watershed Cairns at the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, a viewer wrote, “I Have NEVER! Seen anything as beautiful & as informative about water—it is a treasure to protect!!!”


Missouri & Upper Mississippi Rivers:

Thirty photographs tracing the Mississippi River from its headwaters in northern Minnesota and the Missouri River from its origin in northern Montana to their confluence near St. Louis, Missouri. Fee: 30 photographs (C-type print on paper mounted on clear acrylic), $6,000 plus shipping and insurance for a four-week exhibit. See exhibition checklist for images and sizes. Approximately 200 linear feet.


Missouri River:

Twenty-one photographs from Hell Roaring Creek, Montana to St. Louis, Missouri. Fee: 21 photographs, $4,500 plus shipping and insurance for a four-week exhibit. Approximately 130 linear feet.


Upper Mississippi River:

Ten photographs from Lake Itasca, Minnesota to St. Louis, Missouri. Fee: 10 photographs, $2,250 plus shipping and insurance for a four-week exhibit. Approximately 65 linear feet.


All Exhibits include:
Text panels featuring a map of the watershed locations, informative brochures, and labels for each photograph. Five-minute video introducing the project and defining “watershed” and “cairn.”

Option: One or more glass cairn sculptures (24–72 inches tall) may be included.
Fee: $300 each cairn sculpture.


  • Artists will be responsible for producing and crating all objects.

  • Artists will provide digital images for advertising and publicity.

  • Gallery will be responsible for shipping cost, installing, labeling, invitations, publicity,

    and insurance while the work is in transit and in the gallery.

Education Programs for Watershed Cairns - Venues may customize the exhibit by selecting from the following options:

Artist Talks:

See Water Reuter’s illustrated talk about her artistic journey through reliquaries, maps, and the flood of 1993, to Watershed Cairns: Water Marked with Art.
Fee: $250 plus transportation and hotel. See her Ted Talk at

Watershed Road Trip Reuter and Rowan share their adventures scouting sites and photographing along the rivers. Fee: $400 plus transportation and hotel.

Community Cairn-Building Workshop: A family activity using recycled plastic packaging. Fee: $600 a day for one artist, plus expenses. Volunteer or staff assistants are requested.

Commemorate Your Local Watershed: Beginning three months prior to the planned exhibit, the artists will consult community representatives to identify locations where local water resources are underappreciated or threatened. Based on those discussions and their own observations, the artists will select one or more sites, create a cairn, and photograph the site for the community. A print of this Watershed Cairn image will be shown in the exhibit. The gallery will have the option to purchase the photograph and/or handmade glass cairn at cost. Artists’ fee: $2,000, plus transportation and hotel.

Merchandise for Your Museum Store: Watershed Cairns archival, inkjet photographs on paper available at 30 percent discount.

Additional Education Program Ideas: The Missouri History Museum, St. Louis and the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mt Vernon, Illinois collaborated with university extension divisions; soil and water conservation districts; water and sewer utilities; state departments of natural resources or conservation; and local environmental groups offering educational programs. Family activities, lectures, and films prompted discussion about local water issues. At the Missouri History Museum, poets read works inspired by the images.

*Total fees are based on the options selected. Expenses for transportation and/or housing will be combined when events run concurrently. Sixty percent of the fees are due with contract; remaining fees due when the exhibit arrives. Additional contracted expenses will be billed after the service is rendered and will be due 30 days from invoice.