The Downstream Crossing (look carefully with zoomify tool)

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Most Americans recognize this image and remember its name and the historic event that it commemorates: Washington Crossing the Delaware, Christmas night, 1776. The artist, Emanuel Leutze, has given the soldiers in the boat a “common sense of mission, and in the stormy sky above he has painted a bright prophetic star, shining through a veil of cloud.” Yes, we know, the original painting from 1851 depicts a few historical inaccuracies (e.g. the flag, the time of day, the size and shape of the boat, George standing), but so what? Leutze’s artistic license gives us perhaps the most iconic, patriotic and inspirational image in American history. That we  have, in turn, taken our own artistic license with this image is out of respect for the painting and all that it represents (more on this subject, below)*. So, as we celebrate the spirit of the season, and the freedoms we enjoy, we are reminded that when it comes to the environment, we are all in the same boat. The revolution continues, and The Downstream Project is leading the way!

The Downstream Crossing Caption Contest

The winning entry receives dinner for two at The Battletown Inn or a full complement of The Downstream Project’s apparel.

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* To introduce you to the cast and crew of The Downstream Project, we invite you to take a closer look at this unique version of Leutze’s painting, and its cast of characters. The most prominent figure, of course, is that gentleman of Virginia, George Ohrstrom, holding a brass telescope and wearing a heavy saber, “symbolic of a stateman’s vision and a soldier’s strength.” Behind George, carrying the flag against the storm, is his lieutenant and executive director, Bill Howard, flanked by our cameraman par excellence, George Patterson. At the base of this group, wearing a cloak and oilskin hat, is our talented video editor, Nancy Sanders Farmer. Pushing the forward port side oar is our indispensable creative consultant, Tom Taylor, and rowing in the stern is the graphic artist behind the “retouching” of this painting, Jared Sheerer. At the stern steerage oar is Tom Conant, Jared’s business partner, a former professional river guide and the creative director of Studio 105, Downstream’s Web development partner.

(Descriptive quotations taken from David Hackett Fischer’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, Washington’s Crossing. The 12′ x 20′ original oil-on-canvas painting hangs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in its newly restored $500,000 frame. The artist, Emanuel Leutze, is the great-great-great grandfather of our executive director, Bill Howard.)