Crooked River Contrasts in The Galleries at CSU

Structured Sunrise, photo by Christina Sadowski

XTINGUISH THE PAST, IGNITE THE FUTURE! The 1969 Cuyahoga River fire has become a powerful cultural symbol as well as a rallying cry for better water protection. Discover a story of extraordinary resilience and recovery, captured by photographers from Northeast Ohio.

Fifty years ago, the Cuyahoga River was so polluted by industrial waste that it caught fire. The event generated worldwide attention and notoriety that took Cleveland years to live down. That final fire served as a catalyst for the Clean Water Act and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Today, the Cuyahoga is a symbol of efforts to clean up America’s waterways. Wildlife and people are returning to a much healthier river. Conservation and committed stewardship have enhanced the value of the Cuyahoga as a resource for economic development, recreation and tourism.

Crooked River Contrasts brings together historical images leading up to the 1969 fire with contemporary photographs by artists responding to the positive results of the clean-up and conservation strategies which that event inspired. The resilience of the watershed has been extraordinary. And the Cuyahoga River continues to spur civic and environmental progress.

Artists: an Adams, Jeffrey Gibson, Jennie Jones, Rick McMeechan, D.J. Reiser, Bill Rieter, Jim Roetzel, Christina Sadowski. Co-curators: Arrye Rosser, Joe Valencic, Mary Grodek. Presented by Xtinguish Celebration, West Creek Conservancy, Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Ohio Humanities. For details, visit



The Galleries at CSU

1307 Euclid Avenue

Cleveland, Ohio 44115