Three MLA grads create artwork for Arboretum exhibit

Sandra Rolph (MLA 2007), Sean Jergens (BED 2002, MLA 2005), and Jenny Salita (MLA 2008) created artwork for the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's latest exhibit, "Waterosity: Go Green with a Splash." Their piece, "Global Spydrology," explores the connection between people, plants, and water. ("Spydrology" is a combination of "spiral" and "hydrology".)


Rolph, Jergens, and Salita's work features galvanized metal pipes that represent the amount of freshwater consumed daily per capita in 12 different countries around the world. The nine columns of freshwater that one American uses in one day is a stark contrast to the one column or less used daily per capita in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to Rolph, she and her partners only had a month to come up with a design idea and submit it to the arboretum. Their global spydrology piece was one of 10 selected by the arboretum out of the 70 entries they received.

"After we found out our piece was going to be in the exhibit, we had all winter to plan and refine the design based on the budget," Rolph said. "Then it took about three or four weekends of actual grunt work to complete this spring."

Jergens said creating a piece that was educational and included a message of the importance of water was a main goal of the group.

"As to the physical design of the piece," he said, "we wanted something with drama and a real presence that would emphasize the enormity of the issue of water use and conservation on a global scale." He also said that the piece aims to highlight the unequal distribution of water around the world.

"This exhibit is an important one because fresh water is a resource that every person in the world needs, yet it is distributed very unevenly around the world," Jergens said.

Rolph said she thinks the piece is an eye-opening addition to the Waterosity exhibit.

"As a country, we are relatively water-rich and we really take our water resources for granted," Rolph said. "We don't realize how other countries with poor access to water have to deal with that was kind of shocking - even we were stunned when we put up the USA pipes and saw how much that really was."

The goal of the Waterosity exhibit is to inform people of the importance of water conservation. The three components of the exhibit include "Intriguing Art in the Garden," "Harvest Your Rain," and "Cutting Edge on Lawns." The exhibit runs through October 4.