Last year, after having taken a two-year break from board work, I joined the board of directors for a placeless organization called Art Shape Mammoth. Started by some friends and neighbors I met living at the Tilsner Artist Co-operative in Lowertown St. Paul, they are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to connecting artists to new communities and supporting the development of artistic practice, dialogue, education, and research through creative public exchange. Programming includes;

  • An Artist Representation Program providing thoughtfully curated exhibitions, residencies, and visiting artist opportunities for professional artists nationwide.
  • An International Artist Exchange Program, exhibiting artists across continents, providing artists opportunities for exhibiting, networking, teaching and learning from each other in communities across the world.
  • The Visitor Center Artist Camp near-wilderness residency site in the UP of Michigan where we host annual artist residencies and a Sustainable Practices Symposium, inviting artists to experience a practice focused on sustainability and self-sufficiency by locally-sourcing and hand-processing materials for woodworking, ceramics, and metal sculpture while living and working communally in a wilderness environment.
  • ONE Arts community gallery and workshop space in Burlington Vermont, providing the Old North End community with hands-on art programming for children and adults, community art events, and gallery exhibitions by local and national artists.
  • Traveling Experiential Workshops in metal-casting and ceramics based out of Providence, RI and Loveland, CO. Traveling workshops promote accessibility in the equipment-heavy arts of ceramic and metal sculpture by bringing foundry and kiln processes out in the open and allowing the community a simple, hands-on experience.

Visitor Center Artist Camp; ASM’s near-wilderness artist residency in Michigan’s UP.

This is the first time I’ve worked nationally and internationally to help develop and fundraise for arts programming. We meet via video conference, often spanning all four time-zones that cross the continental United States. The network is vast and loosely knit, but somehow everything comes together to find exhibition opportunities, transport artists and their work, publicize events and seek support from host communities. While frustrating at times, it has been a rich instructional opportunity in collapsing communication divides as well as distance to make the vision come to fruition.

Art Shape Mammoth; coming to Minneapolis’ own Seen the Future in July. 

This summer in Minneapolis, we will be hosting Icelandic artist Mari Mathlin for a residency at Seen the Future, with exhibition just across the way at Hair & Nails gallery. From there, she will travel with ASM staff to Michigan’s upper peninsula for the Visitor Center Artist Camp’s August residency program, where she will engage with the local Finnish population and create work responding to place. I am excited to help host Mari while she is in town, and hope to make it up to the UP as well, but that journey is as yet to be determined. Applications to VCAC are due at the end of May, so get yours in if you are interested in participating! If not this year, mark it down for next.

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