August 13, 2017

 The Fergus Falls Daily Journal profiled me and another Hinge Artist Sharon Mansur about our art and current projects. I am just wrapping up my first artist residency in Fergus Falls thanks to the amazing organization, Springboard for the Arts. It has been a rich experience and I hope to write more about it soon, but with moving and beginning graduate school, it will be a busy time.

Please see my new blog Off Her Rocker for my blog about my artist residency, research at the asylum, mental health, and beyond!  Off Her Rocker is about resilience and the power and beauty of darkness and rebirth, what we can learn when we see self-destruction as a lesson instead of demonizing, vilifying, or criminalizing it. We need to move beyond defining ourselves beyond our illnesses, beyond the stigma and shame, and reach instead toward a place of healing. It’s time to start dusting off those skeletons in the clos...

May 24, 2017

I have two recent art features in Fargo's only alternative weekly, High Plains Reader. It is amazing to see the arts community evolve and flourish.

“We think that visual art is important for the aesthetics and identity of our city. And what is represented in our art should reflect the identities of people experiencing it. With a growing number of cultures represented in Fargo Moorhead, it is important to show that through art -- because it is a physical representation of the change in the culture of the city,” Sky Purdin, Program Director of the Immigrant Development Center.

May 17th Issue: Reviving The Lost Art of Birch Bark Scrolls

The Ojibwe people used birch bark scrolls to record religious beliefs, ceremonies, and traditions. The Plains Art Museum taught a class teaching people this practice as part of a Native American art initiative.

Art is a vital tool for cultural preservation and sharing,...

May 6, 2017

In the Spring of 2015 I had my first ever story published in a magazine, in the "Posts" section of Oregon Humanities Magazine. The theme was fix.  I figured I would repost it here because well, I was pretty damn proud. The story was not easy to tell.   I am still trying shed  the shame of that story. But maybe we need to re-imagine what it mean to be "fixed" and "broken." Maybe we are all just fumbling, flailing creatures clawing our way towards truth, meaning.

Architecture of the Broken

I have an opal-colored, oval rock on my five-dollar rummage sale bookshelf, carved with the word inspire. My licensed addiction counselor gave me this rock on my graduation as a message of encouragement, something to turn to when times were tough. It made my triumph traceable and palpable, something I held in my hand after a difficult day.

One year and six months after graduating, I got a call from my...

April 29, 2017

First appeared in High Plains Reader on April 20: Photos courtesy Nikki Anderson

Nikki Anderson’s home brims with ephemera that embody her life as an artist, teacher, wife, mother, chef, survivor, and healer. A gold medal glistens in the spring sunlight hanging next to a tattered baseball cap on the coat rack. School photos of her three children adorn the wall by the stairs and the mantel. The smoky jazz of Norah Jones fills the air that was once full with her son playing the piano. Creativity is woven throughout every room, including handmade pottery, mosaics, and Anderson’s pastel paintings of landscapes and vibrant, blossoming flowers with bold brush strokes that echo her vivacious personality.

Despite all of this light, she has also known immense darkness with the tragic losses of her daughter Ashley who died of suicide in July 2014 and Lucas, who died of a heroin overdose in March 2016.

Ashley...

March 13, 2017

This article first appeared in The High Plains Reader

Four years ago, Adam Martin lost everything. He was homeless, had no car, no license, no job, no phone, and lost custody of his children. With five felonies on his criminal record and an eviction, prospects for getting a job and apartment were grim. The only positive was that he had two weeks of sobriety under his belt, a landmark for someone who struggled with addiction for fifteen years.

Martin was planning on getting drunk, but had an epiphany instead.

“I decided that I should put as much effort into my new life as I had put into drinking."  He felt two quarters rattling in his pocket on his walk to The Bowler- just enough to make a pay phone call to a friend in recovery instead of towards another bar tab.

He needed a shower, a place to live, a car, his license. But most of all, he needed a second chance. He landed an interview for sales for a...

February 24, 2017

I am grateful and honored that I was awarded a career development artist-in-residence through Hinge Arts at the Kirkbride, a community development and artist residency program at the historic Fergus Falls State Hospital, or the “Kirkbride Building.” Launched in Spring 2015, Hinge Arts is intended to create opportunities where artists and community members gather to explore themes of transition, connection, and innovation inspired by the community’s 124 years of hosting a state mental institution.

Before I delve into things,  I want to thank to my writing mentors,  Elizabeth Birmingham (AKA BETSY the Queen) and Cindy Nichols from NDSU and Justin Hocking, Oregon book award winner (The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld) from Portland. Also thanks to writing editor friends Sarah Nour and Kate Thoreson and the MN Springboard for the Arts.

What in the Sam Hill is an 'artist-in-residence' mean, som...

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