Philadelphia families created the art in this book
during a collaborative visual
storytelling and myth-making workshop called “River Beasts and Besties.” During
the workshop, we celebrated cultural beliefs about rivers from around the world and
explored the mystery of what lives—or doesn’t—beneath the water’s surface. We
created fantastical beasts to explore dystopian imaginings of urban waterways and
fears about the future health of our watershed. We also conjured besties, our mythical
creatures to protect our rivers from ecological destruction. We hope this book will
help readers to do the same.
Beth Uzwiak is an artist, anthropologist and cultural activist with a deep commitment to
community engagement. She has exhibited art in numerous places including Philadelphia
Museum of Art, Pyramid Atlantic Art Center and Woman Made Gallery.
is a sociocultural anthropologist with broad experience in qualitative research. Much
of her work revolves around the relationships between health, human rights and social
policy. Together, they founded Ethnologica, a research consultancy firm with a focus on