Happy New Year everyone! I’ve been visiting family in Portland, Oregon and eastern Washington for the past week, soaking up good family time, mountain views, and catching up with old friends while reflecting on the past year. Summing up 2012 is proving a little tricky. There’s been some tough stuff this year. Lots of transition, which is not exactly my favorite thing, thus the lack of fall art emails. I’ve been saying I’m in a bit of an “incubation period.” I’m not sure how much longer I can get away with that, but hey! I did some stuff, quite a lot actually, so here we go.
In January I took down my first solo show at the Baroque Room, selling two pieces to a retired physician who loved the microscopic, biological influence in my work and planned to have them hung at a library at Mayo Clinic.
In May I spoke to junior art majors at my alma mater Carleton College with fellow alums Dustin Yager and Mira Rojanasakul. Looking back at how my life and artwork has evolved over the past 7 or 8 years was surprisingly revelatory. That thing about not being able to connect all the dots until you look back later became very real for me and I saw continuous threads between my day jobs, studies abroad, and my artwork that helped me reexamine and rephrase the way I think and talk about what I do.
I dipped my feet in the arts festival world for the first time at Art-a-Whirl and Red Hot Art Festival. I made temporary tattoos of my artwork, which are funny, and a little bit weird (I still have some and would be happy to send you one if you missed out). At Red Hot Art, I had a TENT! I painted outdoors surrounded by green grass, live music, and lots of smiling people and dogs, which was absolutely lovely. My booth was right next to the hamburger stand, which was also lovely for the first hour or so.
Women and Water Rights was re-mounted in June at the Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson. It was a beautiful showcase of artwork by women concerned with global water issues. There are some photos of the exhibit here.
In July I worked with Alis Olsen and Bethany Whitehead to coordinate WARM Pop! – a one week pop up art installation for the Women’s Art Resources of Minnesota in the St. Anthony Park Pop Up Shop, which was later included as one of the projects featured inStarling Project’s Your Idea Here: A Toolkit for Unlocking the Community Potential of Vacant Storefronts. Twenty-five WARM artists participated in the spontaneous gallery show on University Avenue, which also included a mini library/resources corner with feminist art criticism and WARM history. Photos can be found here. It was a blast.
Making a move to refocus my work life towards arts and early childhood education, I had a tearful goodbye with my coworkers and clients at Wayside Family Treatment after five years of pouring so much of my heart and energy into serving women recovering from chemical dependency and their children. I still carry the grief, humour, and resilience of those women with me every day.
I was stationed at Intermedia Arts for my annual house managing duties with the Minnesota Fringe Festival. This year included live tweeting a show that didn’t exist (the company pulled out last minute, leaving an open “TBD” show page on the fringe site that attracted wild assortments of made up reviews, which I pretended were all coming true before my eyes as I live-tweeted from the technically completely empty venue during the show’s abandoned time slot). Various other good shenanigans also ensued and the Twin Cities Daily Planet posted my recap.
During election hoo-ha I felt blessed and humbled to play a very tiny part in helping promote and donating artwork to a fundraiser put on by Artists in Storefronts and Cult Status Gallery to commission world famous feminist political art group the Guerrilla Girlsto create a billboard and poster campaign to help defeat the marriage and voter id amendments. Click here to listen to the KFAI Fresh Fruit radio interview that organizers Joan Vorderbruggen and Erin Sayer let me join on behalf of WARM. And the best part of all: both hateful amendments that would have disenfranchised voters and injected discrimination into our state constitution were voted down! Minnesota did us proud.
I turned 30, celebrating with good friends, food and drinks at Moto-i and a Boundary Waters canoe trip with my parents. Part of the bday festivities even got podcasted (ep. 13, NSFW) when my friend Noah ended up in the hot seat at Joseph Scrimshaw’s Obsessed show.
In October I celebrated the successful first year of Irrigate with my Springboard for the Arts colleagues at the fall Art Happens Here event (which included capturing a video of Mayor Coleman and a bunch of other happy souls doing a cake walk), plus we got to go to the swanky Minnesota Monthly Best of 2012 event when Irrigate was named best public art project in the Twin Cities. Irrigate artists are using performance, music, spoken word, writing, theatre, visual arts, and other creative endeavors in unique ways to improve economic vitality on University Avenue, create new community narratives and enhance neighborhood identity amidst light rail construction. See the video from the first year of the project to see what I mean.
We helped make some stuff happen! Jazz Hands!
(With Springboard for the Arts makers’n’shakers Noah Keesecker, Laura Zabel, Jun-Li Wang, Peter Haakon Thompson and Rachel Summers)
Saving the best for last, I was just recently selected as a a 2013 fellow in the Creative Community Leadership Institute at Intermedia Arts. It is a program that “provides comprehensive, professional-level training and support for local community-engaged artists and community developers…The Creative Community Leadership Institute matches people who work at the intersection of the arts and community development with the tools and experiences to address the social justice issues affecting our communities. Based on the fundamental belief that the future health of communities demands innovative, cross-sector leadership at every level, this program builds a dynamic core of capable leaders and partnerships over an intensive five-month program of hands-on workshops and on-site experiences.” I hope it will be a good match for me as I continue to explore the ways I’d like to connect my artistic practice with my passion and experience in early childhood education and social services.
I finished out the year learning about ninja legos (“Ninjago”) from my 5 year old cousin, cooking balsamic beef brisket with my cousin and aunt, eating the traditional Orange Julius pepperoni cheese dog while shopping with my mom, listening to disco star wars music while playing Settlers of Catan with the best of old friends from high school, and just generally trying to rest up and replenish so that I can jump into another year of hard work. Thanks to each and every one of you who supported me, cheered me on, and made me laugh in 2012. Special thanks to creative friends and fam in all pursuits doing work that inspires me every day. Here’s to celebrating all the things that change and all the things that stay the same.
Work in Progress