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Webinar: Water Unites Us

Water is essential, in need of our attention, and something that unites us all. Learn how three inspirational North American environmental leaders are harnessing the power of creativity to raise awareness about water quality issues in a webinar conversation on Wednesday, October 20.

Image from Milwaukee Water Commons’ “We Are Water” event. Photo by Pat A. Robinson. Courtesy of Milwaukee Water Commons


Watch a Webinar Conversation

Wednesday, October 20 at 12:00 pm CST

Arts Midwest invites you to a special conversation in advance of the U.S. Water Alliance’s annual Imagine a Day Without Water campaign. Hear from playwright & theatre producer Annabel Soutar, researcher and advocate Dr. Jalonne L. White-Newsome, and mixed media artist Melanie Ariens.

Whether you are a seasoned water advocate or green to the topic, we welcome you and encourage you to share with your network!

Sign Up for the Webinar



Closed captioning will be available for this webinar. A recording of the webinar will be posted within 48 hours.


Meet the Speakers

Annabel Soutar Headshot

Annabel Soutar

Playwright & Theatre Producer

Annabel Soutar is a Montreal-based playwright and theatre producer. In 2000 she co-founded Porte Parole Productions with actor Alex Ivanovici. The Company’s mission is to produce entertaining documentary plays that create a transformational sense of civic engagement in its audiences. Annabel studied Theatre at Princeton University. Since 1998 she has written 8 documentary plays including Seeds, Sexy béton, The Watershed, and Fredy. Since 2016 Soutar has been working with co-authors and actors Alex Ivanovici and Brett Watson on The Assembly – a devised series of documentary plays exploring the phenomenon of political polarization. Episodes have been produced in Montreal, at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, and in Germany at the Munich Kammerspiele. Future episodes are currently being developed in the US, Lithuania, Brazil, and France.

Dr. Jalonne L. White-Newsome

Researcher & Advocate

A life-long learner and advocate, Dr. Jalonne L. White-Newsome founded Empowering a Green Environment and Economy, a strategic consulting firm, with the mission of transforming communities through the development of people-centered solutions. She serves a diverse set of clients with forward-thinking and intersectional approaches to tackle issues such as climate change, public health, environmental injustice, and advancing racial equity. Jalonne’s has multi-sector experience having worked in environmental philanthropy, state government, non-profit, grassroots, academia and private industry. Most notably, she created and implemented the transformational Climate Resilient and Equitable Water Systems (CREWS) Initiative at the Kresge Foundation as a Senior Program Officer; she was the first Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice’s federal policy office in Washington, DC; and, her doctoral research illuminated the impact of climate change & extreme heat on the low-income, elderly in Detroit, and is still referenced to drive public health interventions. A native of Detroit, Jalonne earned a Ph.D. in environmental health sciences from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Southern Methodist University, a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Northwestern University, and her certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University. Jalonne serves on multiple national and local academic, non-profit and for-profit Boards, including: National Academies of Sciences Board on Environmental Change and Society, American Geophysical Union, and is a Senior Advisor on Equity and Justice for The Water Center at The University of Pennsylvania. She is a Lecturer at The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, a lifetime member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the proud mom of Arielle and Jeannelyn.

Melanie Ariens

Mixed Media Artist

Melanie Ariens is a Milwaukee area mixed media artist who uses creative work to communicate about issues surrounding the Great Lakes and freshwater access. She is the Artist-in-Residence for Milwaukee Water Commons, playing a leading role their annual We Are Water event which celebrates the city’s diversity, highlights local creatives, and engages the community in care, keeping and celebration of water right at the shoreline. Melanie also coordinates water themed art projects for MWC’s Water School program. Her goal is to get people to think about water issues in a non-traditional way, by evoking a simple metaphor or tapping into a spiritual connection to water. She loves unexpected and surprising ways to insert watery artwork and creativity into the public sphere. In addition to exhibiting in regional galleries and spaces, you can find her work throughout Milwaukee on public boat docks along the Milwaukee River, on manhole covers she designed for Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, and in the many community art projects she has coordinated.

Presented by Arts Midwest in partnership with Porte Parole Productions, Milwaukee Water Commons, and Empowering a Green Environment and Economy. This event is part of our Quebec Artist Series made possible with generous financial support from the Québec Government Office in Chicago.