In Focus Lecture Series: Rebecca Keller What Color is the Sea? What Color is the Sky?

Rebecca Keller

What Color is the Sea? What Color is the Sky?

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A participatory research and art-making project

For the last three summers artist and writer Rebecca Keller has traveled to communities near various bodies of water, from rural Maine to Michigan to France to Greece, to talk to people about their perceptions of the water they live near, and to make artwork based on these perceptions. These projects engage the idea of water as a common resource and a mutual responsibility.

Last spring she presented an iteration at the Evanston Art Center called All The Water That Ever Was, Now Is. It included large paintings, a sculptural installation, information about agencies that care for our water, and demographic data of the communities that share Lake Michigan water, made accessible via QR codes.

In this presentation, Keller will discuss What Color is the Sea? What Color is the Sky? and also, more generally, the benefits and challenges for an artist of working on an ongoing project across multiple places, times, and venues.


Rebecca Keller is an artist and writer, recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, two Fulbright awards, the Illinois Arts Council, and a TED talk. She has exhibited her artwork in the US, China, and Europe, including at The MCA, Chicago, the Portland Art Museum, Jane Addams Hull House Museum, the Estonian National Museum of Art, and many others. Her book about her projects in public historic sites, “Excavating History; When Artists Take on Historic Sites’ was published by Stepsister Press, and her essay “Mazes and Mirrors; Reflections and Play” was published by the Frans Hals Museum for The Transhistorical Museum project. Keller’s fiction has won the Betty Gabehart Prize and two Pushcart nominations. She was a finalist for the 2013 Chicago Literary Prose award, and her first novel “You Should Have Known” is newly released by Crooked Lane Books/ Penguin Random House.