On Thursday, June 13th, local artists Jess Gorman and Tamara Isfeld showed off a “Prohibited Acts” photography and 2D art exhibit at the K.K. Berge Gallery. “The goal of “Prohibited Acts” is to try and make modern day residents of Granite Falls and the surrounding area relive things that were considered to be taboo in the prohibition era,” said Gorman. The “Prohibited Acts” project is funded by a grant through the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council that Gorman and Isfeld had submitted.
“What the project encompasses was a photoshoot and a two dimensional art series to be put on the walls in the K.K. Berge building for the month of June, which is up right now.” Gorman said.
Over the past couple of weeks Gorman did a series of photoshoots with residents from the Granite Falls area, “People could come in and dress up, then they would pick a card with different taboo scenes listed on it that they would act out,” Gorman said. Some of the photos taken by Gorman are turned into paintings or drawings that are displayed alongside the photos.
Gorman and Isfeld held a “Taboo Talk” at the Bluenose Gopher in downtown Granite Falls on June 6th where they discussed their research and read stories based on articles that explained weird norms or taboo subjects of that time. Some of the taboo examples of the day includes women being considered mentally defective if they were unable to complete household tasks, applying makeup in public, serving alcohol, drinking alcohol, socialism, working while pregnant, and that women who married immigrants lost their citizenship while men could marry immigrants with no repercussions.
“It kind of continues to propagate that women were second class citizens in society,” added Gorman.
The next Prohibited Acts event is coming to Main Street Granite Falls on June 29th, “There will be four interactive sets on Prentice Street that people can come participate in…They don’t require costumes or anything like,” adding that people who are out enjoying Prentice Street on Volstead Days between 12-4p.m. will be able to participate in the scenes...two of the scenes go from 12-2p.m. and the other two scenes go from 2-4p.m.”
When describing the scenes Gorman said, “One is a speakeasy on the porch of the Volstead House with live music where participants will be playing family friendly old timey card games and eating snacks - and there will also be a small free sample station for beer tasting.” Others include a multicultural diner, a makeup counter with free makeup samples, and an ankle bearing station in the Lady Slipper Garden on Prentice Street where women volunteers will have pictures of their ankles taken (Because showing ankles was frowned upon).
“We are trying to make this a very local event, we are working with artists and musicians from the area for these projects… we have gone to great lengths to make sure its a very diverse and local experience.” Gorman said. Once the Prohibited Acts project is complete a book that celebrates the 100 year anniversary of prohibition will be made. The book will include the celebrations and art from the project and be available at various community partner locations.