Today in Lansing: Oscar Tuazon’s ‘Water School’ exhibit premieres at MSU Broad Art Museum


Oscar Tuazon's "Water School"

6 to 8 p.m. Premiere

Jan. 25 to Aug. 25 exhibit

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU

547 E. Circle Dr., East Lansing

Click here for event page

FRIDAY, Jan. 25 — A colony of igloo-like buildings built of sustainable materials will be the flashpoint for conversations meant to reconnect the community with its local water supply in the Broad Museum’s latest exhibit.

Based in Los Angeles, exhibiting artist Oscar Tuazon created his water school installation through Kickstarter crowdfunding. Since its inception, he took the concept on the road with a stop in Minnesota before coming to Lansing.

Tailor-made for the Midwest region it addresses, the exhibit focuses heavily on the preservation of the Great Lakes and Michigan waterways.

“This entire day is focused on activating this space. The idea of the water school being in practice, with formal and informal learning with the community bringing it to life,” said Morgan Butts, director of communications at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum.

Kicking off the event will be an Anishinaabe Native American water blessing, featuring a live sing-along led by Marie Schafer and an interactive touch screen station with songs gifted by Sharon Day and the Oshkii Giizhik singers.

There will also be an opportunity for participants to build a structure from sustainable materials, a roundtable on sustainability with the artist and a community lead discussion on issues facing water conservancy. To close, Flint Public Schools teacher Jessyca Matthews will read her original poem “I’ll Call Back Later” about Flint’s continued struggle for access to clean water.

As Tuazon’s artwork exhibits throughout the coming months, the Broad will feature the space in new events to be announced, Butts said.

Heavily influenced by Steve Baer’s “Dome Cookbook” manual for living off the grid, Tuazon’s work puts Baer’s ideas into practice.

One piece in the exhibit features a water window prototype, Butts said. “Baer had these giant drums filled with water against a window. The sun would hit it during the day and it could later disperse heat throughout the home in the evening.”

When Tuazon isn’t exhibiting, he lives in a sustainable “Zome Home” in Albuquerque sustaining solely on solar power.

In this hands on event, it is important to recognize all art is participatory, Butts said.

“We want to create programming around this idea. It is a conversation. Even if you view at a more static medium, you are still bringing your own perspective and background to it. This is something that can engage every single person.”

For more information, visit

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