A Secret History of American River People from the deck of a traditional shantyboat
Santa Cruz artist Wes Modes, with help from Kai, Jeremiah and others, built a traditional shantyboat to float down American rivers to gather the lost stories of river people. The crew just returned from the Mississippi where they spent part of the summer interviewing dozens of people who work and live on the river. The collection will serve as an archive for future scholars as well as be publicly-accessible online. When not on the river, the shantyboat itself serves as the project library and archive and will be temporarily sited at museums and galleries starting with the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History in November.
Thursday September 11th at 7pm
SubRosa Community Space
703 Pacific Ave, Downtown Santa Cruz
In late July, after an epic cross-country journey, California artists Wes Modes and Kai launched the shantyboat on the Mississippi River starting in Minneapolis. Joined by Jeremiah for a portion of the journey, they floated for five weeks over several hundred river miles, stopping in big and little town to interview river people. The journey is detailed in the project website at http://peoplesriverhistory.us/
Secret History is an art and history journey to discover, present, and connect the lost narratives of working-class river communities from the deck of a recreated shantyboat. A few generations ago, communities of shantyboats, or rustic houseboats, lined the banks of the river in every river town in America. Now they are mostly gone and soon the stories will be lost as well. The project is an attempt to capture and preserve some of these stories for current and future generations.