Ebb & Flow River Arts Project


It’s time to go with the flow!  

Ebb & Flow 2017 is going to be extraordinary. Mark your calendars for Friday and Saturday, June 2nd and 3rd, for two days of revelry, artmaking, and free family fun.

Here’s what’s in store for Ebb & Flow 2017

  • June 2nd: First Friday community builds of kinetic art on Cooper Street, in partnership with the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History; a River Critter Scavenger Hunt sponsored by the Downtown Association
  • June 2nd: River Nightwalk at 9 PM, featuring a naturalist talk on the nighttime lives of river critters, an LED-lit aerial dance off one of our bridges, and the lighting ceremony for a new temporary art installation on the Riverwalk
  • June 3rd: The return of the Kinetic Art Parade and River Arts Celebration!
    • Creators, makers, artists, and all community members are encouraged to make kinetic art – art that moves – and to join the parade! Or just come out and watch the creativity of Santa Cruz at its finest. Parade starts at noon the Kaiser Permanente Arena and ends at the Tannery. More details below.
    • 13 new temporary art installations along the Riverwalk will be unveiled during the parade, all with a river theme
    • From 1:30 – 6:00 PM, enjoy the River Arts Celebration at the Tannery Arts Center, featuring music, dance, and theater performances, Kids River Crafts, food trucks galore, and more!
    • At 1:45 PM, witness the unveiling of a new permanent art installation at the Tannery Arts Center, created by Team Downstream led by Kathleen Crocetti and featuring the artwork of two dozen Tannery artists and youth.

Can’t wait to get your Flow on? Join us now for engaging tours on the Riverwalk:

  • Weekly River Tours, in partnership with the Coastal Watershed Council and the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, running through March and April

Calling all makers, burners, artists, and everyone else who loves to have fun! Make art that moves for the Kinetic Art Parade on June 3rd. We’ll flow down the Riverwalk, pausing to see the 13 new temporary art installations.

We want you to have a ton of fun designing your sculpture, and we want to make sure that you have all the info you need to have a great experience the day of the parade. So, before beginning your kinetic sculpture design, give some serious thought to this stuff:

  • The parade route isn’t flat and it’s just over a mile and a half long – there are four underpasses. Our guidelines give you the specs for fitting under them, AND we want you to be sure you and your crew can control them going downhill and have the people power you’ll need to push them up hill.
  • Not sure what we mean exactly? Get out there and walk the route. Seriously, it’s a gorgeous walk, anyway!
  • Save yourself (and us, please) from preventable hassles the day of the event. Please read the Guidelines and then read ‘em again.
  • Need inspiration? Check out Kinetic Baltimore’s indispensable HOW TO BUILD A KINETIC SCULPTURE guide, some assembly required!

The parade route is approximately 1.6 miles long. You and your crew should expect to be on your vehicles for at least 30-45 minutes, perhaps longer.

  • River Arts Celebration: the Art Parade will end at the Tannery for a celebration where every element reflects the theme. Tables will be paddleboards slashed to sawhorses; tenting will be sails soaring over buildings; water served will come from the river; face painting will feature otters, salmon, merganzers. Aerial dancers will “fly” off the roofs of the lofts; musicians, poets, and actors on multiple stages will perform in honor of our river and the Tannery and tell river stories. The permanent Ebb & Flow art installation will be unveiled.

Be sure to sign up for the Arts Council newsletter for updates about Ebb & Flow.

Thank you to our project partners: the City of Santa Cruz, the Coastal Watershed Council and San Lorenzo River Alliance, City of Santa Cruz Arts Commission, City of Santa Cruz Economic Development Department, Tannery Arts Center, First Friday, the Downtown Association, the Museum of Art and History, The Museum of Natural History, Tannery World Dance & Cultural Center, and numerous public agencies. Thanks also to the California Arts Council’s Creative California Communities program.


Some fascinating history of our San Lorenzo River:

8,000 B.C.E: Indigenous community use the river for fishing, hunt game, and gather plants along the shore. A seasonal village is located at the rivermouth, near today’s Beach Flats.

1769: The Portola Expedition travels here. In a diary entry dated October 17, 1769, Fr. Crespi writes that the group named the watershed, the San Lorenzo.

1791: Padres at Mission Santa Cruz designate an area near the river to build a chapel. After a flood in 1792, they relocate to Mission Hill. The people of Mission Santa Cruz introduce new crops and agriculture to the area around the river. Residents of Villa de Branciforte live near the banks of the river.

1860s: Santa Cruz Chinatown houses immigrants who came for the Gold Rush and stayed to build the railroad. It’s located on Front Street near the river. About 100 men live there.

1895-1927: The community enjoys the festivities of the Venetian Water Carnival.  People sit on the banks of the river to watch nightly fireworks and concerts as well as boats adorned with flowers and lights.

1955: On December 23, the community endures the “Christmas Flood.” It holds the record for the highest flooding in Santa Cruz County history. The water level reaches 20.8 feet above sea level. The ’55 flood wipes out what is left of downtown Santa Cruz Chinatown.

1995: The Coastal Watershed Council (CWC) forms to address the declining health of watersheds in the Monterey Bay region. In 2014 CWC forms the San Lorenzo River Alliance. This county-wide group focuses on revitalizing the San Lorenzo River and transforming it into a safe and welcoming community destination.