Our River - Our Future


Our River – Our Future, located at the east entrance of the College of Health and Human Services Building on ISU’s campus, serves as an imaginative link between the arts, health and science and provides an engaging and thoughtful experience for those entering and exiting the building or passing by.

The circular laser cut patterns on the sculpture represent single cell organisms that are key indicators of the health and well-being of an environment. Diatoms that are specific to the Wabash River inspired the patterns that are laser-cut into the steel circular patterns. The overall shape of the sculpture simulates the meandering of the Wabash River as it flows across Indiana.

During the day, sunlight shines through the laser cut patterns and Cretes dancing shadows on the ground below, enlivening the pedestrian experience. At night, the sculpture comes alive in vivid detail with choreographed LED lighting designed to simulate a river current flowing across the surface of the sculpture.

Jeffrey Stone and his lab in ISU’s Department of Earth and Environmental Systems catalog and study the Wabash diatom community and the impact of pollutants on the diatoms. Artist Deedee Morrison worked with them to select the diatom images that inspired the sculpture.

Diatoms are responsible for producing all of the oxygen in one of every four breaths that you take and they absorb tremendous amounts of carbon dioxide in this process. The Wabash ecosystem has a collection of diatoms living in the river that are unique to Terre Haute, where the river runs through the city.

Just as these single cell organisms are the key indicators of the health and well-being of a river system, single celled microbiomes in the human body are key indicators of the health and wellness of the human body. The intricate interconnections of human microbiomes with our environment mirror the patterns of the Wabash River with its diatoms.

With an understanding of how nature is structured and how it functions, we gain an appreciation for our environment and begin to realize the interconnectedness of everything – that healthy systems sustain healthy people and vice versa.

Deedee Morrison is a nationally known public artist working at the forefront of designing solar powered and LED sculptures to communicate public priorities and vision. She has maintained a professional studio practice for over 15 years and has worked with libraries, schools, parks, cities and municipalities throughout the United States.

Morrison’s work combines traditional sculpture construction methods with cutting-edge digital design and fabrication technology. She has developed a unique style that reflects an understanding of the natural world by incorporating industrial materials, computer numeric control cutting methods (CNC), and organically inspired designs to create solar powered LED light sculptures. By combining green consciousness with forward thinking and sustainable designs, the light sculptures pay tribute to nature’s beautiful efficiency.

Additional Information:

Laser Cut, Stainless & Enameled Steel with Choreographed LED Lighting.

15’4″ High, 6’4″ Wide