Writers, artists close out residency seasonWriters and artists covering a wide geographic spectrum are spending October at the Anderson Center at Tower View.
By: Ruth Nerhaugen, The Republican Eagle
Writers and artists covering a wide geographic spectrum are spending October at the Anderson Center at Tower View. The five individuals — from the Upper Midwest, California, Michigan and Estonia — close out the 2012 residency season at Red Wing’s artist community.
Since the program started in 1995, more than 700 artists, writers and scholars have spent time in residence at Tower View, according to Director Robert Hedin.
“They have come from 42 states and 35 foreign countries and have represented 40 different disciplines,” he said.
Their community service presentations have reached some 30,000 people, from grade school children to senior citizens, in the area, “making this one of the most successful and ambitious programs of its kind in the country,” Hedin said.
Minneapolis poet James Lenfestey is making a return visit to the Anderson Center to turn a collection of his poems into a publishable manuscript tentatively titled “A Marriage Book.” He also will work with Scott King of Red Dragonfly Press, the press-in-residence at Tower View, to set type for two broadsides — a nature poem on butterfly music and a love poem from his work in progress.
Lenfestey is a former editorial writer for the Star-Tribune in the Twin Cities, a playwright, and a freelance contributor to regional publications including Minnesota Monthly. He does poetry readings around the country, and has had his work published in collections, poetry books, chapbooks magazines and literary publications.
Community service: Goodhue County Adult Detention Center
A first draft of a book about Aung San Suu Kui, the pro-democracy leader of Burma, is Canyon Sam’s goal during her month at Tower View. The San Francisco writer said she is “the pre-eminent living female symbol of this movement to bring about a peaceful and environmentally sustainable solution to the grave danger we find our world in today.”
Canyon Sam studied humanities, creative writing and women’s studies in California and Oxford, England. She has won a number of awards, including a PEN American Center Open Book Award in 2010 for “Sky Train: Tibetan Women on the Edge of History.” Her work is widely published and she has done numerous readings and performances in the U.S. and Canada.
Community service: Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical
From Chicago’s inner city public schools to the University of Minnesota doctoral program in philosophy, Craig Wilkins has traveled far to get an education and build careers as an artist, scholar and practitioner, and now as a writer of historical works. He currently is director of the Detroit Community Design Center at the University of Michigan, with a lengthy list of publications and speaking credits.
While in Red Wing he will work on “A Whisper That Wants to Shout: The Autobiography of the African-American History and Culture Museum.” Wilkins described it as the account of a century-long quest told by the museum itself.
Community service: Red Wing Women’s Network
A professional plein air painter, Julie Jilek was educated at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Her work has been seen throughout Wisconsin and the Twin Cities.
“I have spent the last year traveling much of Wisconsin painting in the state parks and forests,” she said. Now she wants to explore the landscape of Minnesota, where she had her first experiences painting outdoors.
“For every adventure I take,” Jilek said, “I spend equal time writing and sharing anecdotes, in hopes my travels and experiences inspire others to simplify their lives and appreciate, protect and cherish the marvelous world around them.”
Community service: Tower View Alternative High School
A native of Tallinn, Estonia, Ingrid Allik studied at the Estonian Academy of Art and has been involved with the academy’s Department of Ceramics since 1987 — as an assistant professor, then head of the department, and now as a docent. She participates in international exhibitions and art symposiums.
Her works are mainly done in the raku technique. While at Tower View she plans to create abstract, sculptural pieces. Allik’s creations “represent the idea of life’s constancy and ambience, of its similarities and differences.” She also will be part of an exhibition, “Contemporary Baltic Ceramics,” which opens Oct. 19 at the Anderson Center.
Community service: Lake Pepin Art & Design Center, Pepin