Cosmetics on paper, Sept. 2015
There is a misconstrued idea that a residency has a sole purpose; which is to cultivate the personal work of each individual artist. I’m here to prove otherwise. My time here at The Anderson Center in Red Wing, MN has been one of the most incredible months I’ve had in a long time. Creatively, socially, intellectually I’ve grown on so many different levels.
My time here is quickly coming to an end, as I pack my things and prepare to drive back to Chicago tomorrow. I woke up this morning, and after eating breakfast, and I sat. I sat in the library while the yellow sun warmed my face. There was a slight chill in the air, as we’ve watched a warm summer disintegrate to fall. My hands were warmed from the coffee while my heart felt saddened to leave this lovely place. I sat in reflection, pondering what this place has provided for me: delicious home-cooked meals, free laundry service, a beautiful early 20th century home, studio space – mind space… freedom. Most importantly, it cultivated community.
Perhaps for the other’s here, community wouldn’t be considered the most significant part of this journey, but for me it’s become obvious it’s the reason I was so creatively successful. I cannot stress enough that we all need the feeling of acceptance. In small pockets of creatives we finally feel, after an eternity of meandering through life- accepted.
Here, we became a closed community for a month. We shared what we could with our loved ones in efforts to explain this extraordinary experience. I believe we often fell short. Stories of experiences only provide so much insight to the truth inside this old house. While I’m saddened my loved ones will never fully understand what this month has been for me, I’m delighted to know, their incomprehension was a partial necessity of this process. Exclusion of the outside world allowed us to turn our focus inward on each other and on ourselves.
A residency should provide a rounded, enlightening experience full of prolific fundamentals. Time, space, food, and shelter, they are all a given. Community, unspoken understanding, intellectual discovery, and interdisciplinary exchange, those are not a given. I’ve found The Anderson Center has provided all of that, and more. I’m incredibly thankful for the generative time I’ve spent in rural Minnesota.
Residencies are not just about the artist as individual. They speak to the larger good of the creative community and attest to obligatory exchange of ideas. Allowing ourselves to believe otherwise is a gross misconception.
Sept. 2015 | Red Wing, MN | Anderson Center for the Arts