May artists familiar and new
By Ruth Nerhaugen
Six individuals — a musician/composer, a novelist, two poets, a short story writer and a fiber artist — will be in Red Wing during May for the opening month of the 2015 residency season at the Anderson Center at Tower View.
During the next six months, the artist community will play host to 34 artists, writers and scholars from 11 states and six foreign countries: Austria, Canada, Finland, Israel, Mexico and Spain.
They were selected from among approximately 200 who applied for the residency program.
“This year many past residents will be returning to the center as well as a goodly number who will be in residence for the first time — a wonderful mix of past and present, old and new,” said Robert Hedin, executive director.
Their participation is in celebration of the Anderson Center’s 20th anniversary and Tower View’s 100th anniversary.
As part of their residency, each participant visits a local school, senior center, institution or other public gathering in the area, “offering classes to approximately 3,000 people over the course of our six-month season,” Hedin said.
Because May brings the end of the school year for most, five of the six individuals in residency this month will visit area schools. The sixth will speak to a local women’s club.
Stephan Clark of St. Paul, an assistant professor of English at Augsburg College, will spend the month working on his novel-in-progress, “American Gulag.” He said the story “imagines the crash of the U.S. dollar and its consequences on a diverse range of Americans.”
Clark, who previously was in residence here in 2012, studied in California and was a visiting scholar in the Ukraine and in Russia. His short fiction works are in numerous anthologies, plus he has published a novel and a short story collection.
Community service: Red Wing Women’s Network
Paul Brantey’s residency will be devoted to working on a full-length composition for violin, cello and piano. The New York City teacher, composer, conductor and cellist has been commissioned to write the piece for the Horszowski Trio, a chamber ensemble.
Educated at the Manhattan, Curtis and Eastman schools of music, Brantley was on the artist faculty at the Manhattan school from 2000 to 2014 and is currently a free-lance composer, cellist and conductor, plus he performs with Afro-Jersey, a world music ensemble.
Community service: Red Wing High School and Tower View Alternative School
Short fiction writer
A resident of Nashville, Tennessee, Justin Quarry is a lecturer at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and an instructor at the Sewanee Young Writer’s Conference. He has received a number of fellowships and awards, and lists more than a dozen published short stories.
While at Tower View, Quarry will work on a novel-in-progress, “God Birds,” which he said “concerns the destructive nature of desire, ambition and the self, as revealed through the lens of the Iraq war, celebrity culture, and the largely fictionalized aftermath of a failed search for the ivory-billed woodpecker, which is probably extinct.
Community service: Cannon Falls High School
Poet Marianne Boruch will devote her fifth residency at the Anderson Center to work on a series of poems for her 10th collection. She previously was at Tower View in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2013. A professor in the English Department at Purdue University, she lives in West Lafayette, Indiana.
Her residencies have all been in May, a season during which she finds poetry in “the sound of owls and wind, of insects close, the bright warblers going wild and high in the trees, spring coming into its own.” She’s been a “birder” for years, Boruch said, and knows “how to watch the landscape for small vital presences.”
Community service: Northfield High School
Susan Lenz from Columbia, South Carolina, earned a degree in Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Ohio State University. She creates art quilts and fiber installations that have been exhibited in solo shows across the country, and pieces that are in numerous corporate and museum collections.
While at Tower View May 1-15, she plans to use found materials and objects to create original stitched artworks. Lenz will create new organic and asymmetrical vessels, add hand stitching and found object embellishments, and finally fill some of the vessels with natural or handmade objects.
Community service: Red Wing High School
Minnesota poet Dr. Leslie Adrienne Miller, who will be in Red Wing May 16-31, is a professor of English at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. An award-winning poet, she has had several collections published along with dozens of poems in journals and anthologies.
Her sixth collection, “The Resurrection Trade,” was organized when she was an Anderson Center resident in 2004. Miller hopes to accomplish the same progress with her new work-in-progress, tentatively titled “The Wedding Guest,” during this visit.
Community service: Northfield High School