I have been around water my whole life. I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio–a place that is notorious for having very polluted water. The water in the Cuyahoga River caught fire in the 1960s and the river became a landmark for the Environmental Movement. Cleveland also sits on the shores of Lake Erie, where the waters experience recurring toxic algal blooms. Cleveland taught me how important water is.

Water makes me feel small, for it is immensely powerful. It is constantly challenging human made conventions and pushing back on urban expansion. I frequently find myself staring at water in awe of its power, wondering where I would end up if I jumped in and let the current take me.

All water is connected: the water I drink is the same water that rains down over the ocean. How should one go about trying to comprehend the expansiveness of water? Water is boundless, self-determining, and always changing.

Water is fluid, as am I. Like water, I am connected to everything. When it rains, I bring an umbrella. When the air is humid, my skin is moist. When the temperature is hot, I sweat. My body is constantly responding to agents and altering courses. It is growing, shifting, and transforming.

My art practice advocates for both humans and nonhumans, because our relationships are reciprocal. The water flows through me as much as I flow through it; the current helps me determine where I end up. I tell stories about this symbiosis and visualize alternative futures.


Marty Koelsch is living, reading, thinking, learning, writing, teaching, making art, and studying landscapes in Baltimore, Maryland. Working in sculpture and place-based/time-based mediums, their practice engages the relationship between humans and the environment through ecological, object-oriented, and queer lenses.

Marty holds a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from The Ohio State University and a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art. They're currently a Studio Technician at the Maryland Institute College of Art and Adjunct Faculty at the Community College of Baltimore County.

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