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River of Creativity

Article Published: Sep. 29, 2011 | Modified: Oct. 7, 2011
River of Creativity

Maeve Gould, left, demonstrates Gyotaku art, a traditional form of fish printing in Japan. Area kids will showcase their Gyotaku prints at the Art of Oil during Oct. 7’s Downtown Boone Art Crawl.

Photo by Frank Ruggiero

Watauga River Partners is sponsoring a youth water art show as a part of the Downtown Boone Art Crawl on Friday, Oct. 7.

The event will take place at Art of Oil on King Street from 5 to 8 p.m. The art show will celebrate the High Country’s water resources through the creativity of several local youths.

Last summer, Watauga River Partners worked with the Watauga Hispanic Summer Camp, teaching young people about water’s importance to life. Campers learned about watersheds, clean water and aquatic life through fun activities, which included creating art.

With the help of artist Mar Startari-Stegell and Watauga Cooperative Extension agent Wendy Patoprsty, the campers created individual water-themed art pieces.

During the first summer session, the kids learned about fish and their adaptations to different environments through Gyotaku art. Gyotaku is a traditional form of fish printing in Japan, once used by fishermen to record their catches.

Using rubber fish replicas, provided by the Watauga River Partners, the children created art and learned about fish anatomy and how fish are adapted to live in water. The Gyotaku fish replicas were painted by the campers and printed onto paper using different colored paints.

During the second summer session, the kids used water, paint, straws and their own forced breath to create aquatic-looking ecosystems on canvas. The Watauga River Partners, whose main goal is protecting headwater streams through community education, sponsored these art projects.

Watauga River Partners has teamed with Art of Oil to publicly display the campers’ art during the October Art Crawl, set for Friday, Oct. 7. The finished artwork will be shown, as will information about protecting water resources at the youth art show. Free food, beverages and live music will also be a part of the event.

Art of Oil, a gourmet olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting gallery, is located at 819 W. King St. in downtown Boone. For more information about Art of Oil, visit

About Watauga River Partners

Watauga River Partners formed in 1999 as a chapter of the Western North Carolina Alliance in response to the growing pressures on the water quality of the Watauga River and its tributaries.
The purpose of the organization is to educate the community about the Watauga River and to promote conservation and rehabilitation of the river.

Watauga River Partners’ efforts to protect the Watauga River serve communities along the 60-mile stretch of river.

The Watauga River is, perhaps, the most outstanding natural resource of the North Carolina High Country, where it is a center for outdoor recreation, a site of scientific research, a fragile ecosystem that is home to endangered species of aquatic life, a source of high-quality water, and a contributor to local and regional economies.

For more information about the Watauga River Partners or the youth water art show, contact Wendy Patoprsty at (828) 264-3061 or (

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