Several Meander Artists from the Upper Minnesota River Watershed Region are featured in a special exhibit that has been displayed at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) for the past month. A reception honoring the artists will be held this Friday, September 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the MCAD Concourse Gallery at 2501 Stevens Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55404. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
Featured Meander artists who will have their work on display include Audrey Arner and Richard Handeen of Montevideo, Malena Handeen of Milan/Big Bend, Karen Jenson of Milan, Dale & Jo Pederson of Granite Falls, Franz Allbert Richter of Clarkfield and Gene and Lucy Tokheim of Dawson. Malena Handeen will also be performing some musical selections at the Friday evening reception.
According to the MCAD web site, the exhibition is a showcase of the variety and depth of work being created by Minnesota artists outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The show, entitled In the Field: Artists from Greater Minnesota serves as a capstone to the college's Greater Minnesota Arts Initiative. Over the past year, and with support from the Bush Foundation, the college taught two Design in the Community classes focused on the Upper Minnesota River Valley and the greater Grand Rapids areas. The students met with local residents and discussed creative ways to use skills learned at MCAD to help address challenges faced by rural communities. Based on the community discussions occurring in these classes, MCAD developed a summer fellowship program where students lived in the Montevideo and Grand Rapids areas for two weeks. While living in the communities, student fellows worked on community service projects that capitalized on their art and design talents.
Throughout this process, the college came into contact with many rural artists dedicated to practicing their art while also working to ensure that greater Minnesota's vibrant and eclectic arts scene continues to flourish. In the Field is a sampling of the work of these talented and dedicated individuals.
Montevideo based Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) served as the welcoming and connecting organization for MCAD's project in the Upper Minnesota Valley. CURE has several projects designed to connect people through river, art and the re-use of empty buildings in the towns of western Minnesota. The exchange with MCAD is one example. The upcoming October 5th production of Granite Falls: A Meandering River Walk – community based theater project is another. The Meandering River Walk play is collaboration between CURE, the Granite Falls Chamber of Commerce, Granite Falls Riverfront Revitalization and the Granite Falls Historical Society and Twin cites based playwright Andrew Gaylord and producer director Ashley Hanson.
"We believe in fostering vital creative relationships between Upstreamers and Downstreamers": stated CURE Executive Director Patrick Moore. "The Minnesota River connects the rural and urban parts of the state. Both regions benefit by creative exchanges. The interaction gives us new eyes to see our challenges and help us to view them as opportunities for collaboration."