A month ago, five people spent the day searching Fountain Creek and managed to find a solitary pink flip flop, LEGO pieces, and a photograph of two naked men. While these objects might seem insignificant alone, they all became a part of an exhibit by KRCC’s The Big Something.
Earlier this year, Manitou Springs experienced the worst flooding in decades, and all of the objects found on the afternoon of Oct. 10 are a physical reminder of the damage and loss.
The Big Something created “Lost And Found: Artifacts from the Flood,” a collection of objects that the Manitou floodwater had swept away from their owners. The exhibit was curated by Noel Black, The Big Something producer; Leeds Mallinckrodt-Reese, CC senior, junior producer, and intern coordinator; and Sarah Stockdale, Patrick Lofgren, and Mercedes Whitman, CC interns at KRCC.
The pop-up exhibition opened on Nov. 8 in The Manitou Art Center, 515 Manitou Ave., and aimed to return lost objects to their owners and presented an opportunity for those affected by the floods to share their stories. Mallinckrodt-Reese considered the opening a success. They were able to collect at least ten stories from those affected by the flood.
One man told Mallinckrodt-Reese that “he heard the flood coming like a freight train for three minutes before it actually came through the trees.” These interviews will be condensed down into a roughly eight-minute radio piece expected to air on The Big Something by Nov. 19.
Several people were also able to recover their lost belongings, mostly photographs. One woman found a photo of herself while she was six months pregnant with a note written on the back.
The event was not used as a fundraiser, but rather focused on raising awareness. “I was a little hesitant in making it too purposeful, because I wasn’t in the flood. I wanted it to be a nice thing for the community,” said Mallinckrodt-Reese.
Senior Lela Wulsin attended the opening; before the exhibit, she didn’t realize how damaging the floodwater was to everyday objects, like a pair of jeans. “They made great use of the space, grouping objects so they weren’t just a single object on a pedestal but a cohesive group that told a story,” she said.
“For a lot of people, the flood is chaos, and [the exhibit] was one way of making sense of the chaos,” said Mallinckrodt-Reese.
Shealagh Coughling, Staff Writer