In 2006, artist Eve Mosher was wondering what the local impacts of the global problem of climate change would look like. She researched the Metro East Coast Assessment of New York City, which warned of the risks of a 10ft (3m) storm surge becoming a once every four years event and had the inspiration to create HighWaterLine | NYC in 2007. The project drew chalk lines similar to those on a football field along the flood line to create public art that gave people a visual experience of how their neighborhoods could be affected. Much of the area she chalked in 2007 around the bottom of Manhattan was subsequently flooded in Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The map for HighWaterLine | NYC
This has led to the project being conducted with communities in Philadelphia, Miami, Bristol, and in 2015 HighWaterLine will be working with Bostonians to help them visualize their climate impacts and risk. Mosher collaborated with ecoartspace to create a HighWaterLine Action Guide for communities interested in using public art to start discussions and workshops around climate change within communities.
The collaboration and sharing goes beyond local and in-person workshops with #HighWaterLine photos and updates being shared across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Each location partners with local experts to ensure the chalking is scientifically accurate. For the Miami project, HighWaterLine partnered with Climate Central as well as Professor Hal Wanless from the University of Miami.
HighWaterLine | Philadelphia
Each community that wishes to take part collaborates to create workshops that include things like storytelling, creative brainstorming, oral history and translating scientific data. The drawing of the chalk line is an opportunity for engagement as well. Chalking the line is a slow process and draws the curiosity of neighbors and people walking past that strike up conversations about the project.
images by eve mosher, (cc) flickr and highwaterline.org