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What is a creek? What does it mean? How was it made and who is it for? Let's find out together.


Monument Creek, Colorado Springs, CO

Monument Creek is a 27.2 mile stream that flows along Colorado’s Front Range. It emerges as a spring on Mount Deception and travels through the towns of Palmer Lake and Monument, across the Air Force Academy, and into Colorado Springs. It flows alongside businesses, residential areas, and industrial sites and through stretches of protected open space. At the city’s center, Monument Creek joins Fountain Creek where it flows into the Arkansas River, then the Mississippi, and finally dumps into the Gulf of Mexico. Cutting through the heart of Colorado Springs, this small but important creek is an important source of drinking water and a habitat for many plants and animals. It is also a highly engineered public resource, a site of much restoration and repair, a place of recreation, and home to a growing population of unhoused people. With close looking, the creek banks hold much more than water. Indeed, Monument Creek is complex and changing and deeply essential to life on the Front Range. By closely examining this particular creek, From Source to Mouth illuminates an interconnectedness that can inspire care for water, land, animals, the past, the future and each other. 

Source to Mouth is a community-sourced creative research project organized by artist and curator Erin Elder. Informative and well-researched yet lyrical and non-linear, this project makes space for complex and different views. It weaves together elements of geology, hydrology, ecology, land use, and history, as well as personal memory and sensory awareness. It considers how this unique landscape has been constructed, restored, shaped, used, revered, protected, and made public; it interprets what is visible and imagines what is unseen, forgotten, removed.


In 2023-2024, From Source to Mouth will materialize as a suite of oral histories, a series of field drawings, a collection of soundscapes, a catalog, a multi-media exhibition and a web-based story map that will archive the project and connect it with visitors to specific places along Monument Creek.


From Source to Mouth is made possible by Colorado College where Erin is a resident with the Creativity & Innovation Department (2021-2023). Contributing to the project are individuals from Colorado Springs Utilities, US Fish and Wildlife, Fountain Creek Watershed District, Palmer Lake Historical Society, Air Force Academy Cultural and Natural Resources Divisions, Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum, Westside Cares, Catholic Charities, Pikes Peak Library District, as well as the Colorado College community. 

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