An artist and a lecturing professor at UC Santa Cruz named Wes Modes — along with a crew full of creative mates — has traveled along the Tennessee River and Mississippi River over the last two summers.
A multimedia project they call A Secret History of American River People is a study of the ecology of the rivers as well as the lifestyle of the people who live by the water.
A Secret History of American River People is a project to build a collection of personal stories of people who live and work on the river from the deck of a recreated 1940s-era shantyboat over a series of epic river voyages. The project explores the issues facing current river communities, the long history of people who have lived on and adjacent to the river, and basic river ecology.
For the last three years, the project traveled more than 1,000 miles and was able to conduct oral history interviews that span around 100 hours of video.
For 2017, Modes created a Kickstarter pledge to fund his next phase. This time, the shantyboat will travel through Sacramento with exhibitions, field works, and interviews along the way.
The project aims to raise $7,600 by June 12, 2017. You can help fund the project by visiting the Kickstarter pledge.