South Elm Water Bar was a unique Water Bar project commissioned by Elsewhere, a living museum set in a three-story former thrift store on South Elm Street in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina. 

At it’s simplest, Works Progress’s South Elm Water Bar is a bar that serves local tap water and provides bar goers with an opportunity to contemplate their connections to water with a group of convivial bar tenders through story sharing and casual conversation. The physical and symbolic platform for the project is a multi-purpose mobile Water Bar that was fabricated from locally sourced materials by Ian Gamble, Cora Outling and Colin Kloecker of Works Progress Studio. Included with the bar is a series of plaques with maps of the Cape Fear River Basin and Haw River Watershed to remind bar goers of their hydrologic location. For the project’s opening events during Elsewhere’s First Friday, the bar was stationed at the museum and staffed by representatives from Greensboro’s Water Resources Department and students in Guilford College’s Cape Fear River Basin Project, who discussed where drinking water comes from in Greensboro, elements that contribute to its taste, and how to protect local water sources. To accompany the launch, Works Progress produced and distributed 1000 water prints around Greensboro that honors the role that water plays in the life of the city.

The South Elm Water Bar was commissioned for Elsewhere’s South Elm Projects curatorial initiative to offer new ways to see and understand Elsewhere’s South Elm neighborhood and downtown environment. It focuses on the non-human, natural dimensions that contribute to the formation of the neighborhood, drawing attention to the way that water and society interact and inform one another. Both the bar itself and all basic event materials are still available for community events and gatherings. Contact for more information and booking.