Atlanta to the Atlantic: Connecting Communities to the South River


Spring 2024 - Summer 2025
Locations TBD

by Rachel Parish and Sarah Cameron Sunde

A partnership with the South River Watershed Alliance (SRWA)

The South River begins and flows across south Atlanta, yet many Atlantans have never heard of it. Flowing primarily through low-income areas of the city, it has largely been neglected, leading to the non-profit American Rivers classifying it as the 4th most endangered river in the United States. Pursuing environmental justice and restoration of the South River begins with increasing local awareness, advocacy, and protection of the river’s urban headwaters.

In Spring/Summer 2024, artist duo Rachel Parish and Sarah Cameron Sunde will journey the waters of the South River, inviting participation from everyone (human and non-human) they meet along the way. Afterwards, they will create a series of participatory installations in three different communities. These installations will be based on the form of a maze and modeled on the way the river courses through the landscape.

Partnering with the South River Watershed Alliance, these installations will help extend the South River Water Trail, bringing awareness to sites where people can recreate and connect with this natural resource.  Building awareness among Atlanta residents about this urban river and the impact the city is having upon it is a crucial first step to restoring and protecting the headwaters.  Public events will encourage engagement and passive recreation, activities essential to the Georgia EPD upgrading water quality standards and regulatory enforcement along the river.


Atlanta to the Atlantic is part of FLOW, a multi-year series designed to explore Atlanta’s history with water, how it has shaped our city and the potential it holds for our future. FLOW engages issues of conservation, equity, and urban design through installations and performances around the city.

About the Artist

An Atlanta-based interdisciplinary artist, Rachel Parish works with diverse ecologies of collaborators, including humans, non-humans, and their histories.  Whether creating performances in London, developing art-based compassion trainings with the NYPD’s Hostage Negotiation Team, or designing creative placemaking programs in Atlanta, her work draws from conceptual and social practice, bringing together complex and often divided communities to guide them through collaborative co-creative processes.

Parish’s visual and performance art has been shown at venues internationally including Tate Britain, de Young Museum, Lyric Hammersmith, Battersea Arts Centre, and the Woodruff Art Center, as well as in public spaces such as train stations, community centers, homes for the elderly, streets, and in schools.

Parish is currently a Spillways Fellow at Antenna (New Orleans), the Inaugural Artist in Residence at the Vlerick Business School (Belgium), and a Scholar-in-Residence with Art on the Atlanta BeltLine.

A New York-based interdisciplinary artist and director, Sarah Cameron Sunde works with performance, video, and public art.  She was recently awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to complete her ongoing series of works, 36.5/A Durational Performance with the Sea (2013 – present, nine works on six continents).  In 2017, Sunde instigated and co-founded Works on Water, an artist-driven experimental organization dedicated to art that is made on/in/with bodies of water.

Her work has been seen and experienced at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 3LD Art & Technology Center, the Knockdown Center, EFA Project Space, Little Island, Rattlestick, Kennedy Center, Guthrie Theater and presented internationally in Norway, the Netherlands, Bangladesh, Brazil, Mexico, China, Uganda, and Iraqi Kurdistan. Residencies include LMCC Workspace, Watermill Center, Hermitage Foundation, and Baryshnikov Art Center.

Honors include a Princess Grace Award, Creative Climate Award First Prize, Funding from MAP Fund, Invoking the Pause, LMCC / Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, Norwegian Consulate, and Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst.  She holds a B.A. in Theater from UCLA and an M.F.A. in Digital and Interdisciplinary Art Practice from The City College of New York, CUNY.

South River Watershed Alliance

The South River Watershed Alliance (SRWA ) is a female and BPOC-led environmental organization committed to the ecological restoration of the South River for the benefit of nature and people. Founded in 1999, SRWA is the only organization working to restore the river, and is dedicated to environmental justice and the protection of the South River. Partnerships are critical to the continual advancement of SRWA’s efforts and programs, which have made strides through community outreach and advocacy, critical greenspace protection, water quality monitoring programs, improving public access, increasing recreational use, and strategic legal action.


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