By bringing mosaic art to underutilized spaces, Saint Paul artist Bailey Cahlander believes communities can become more welcoming and accessible places for everyone. As artist in residence September 6 through 20 at Lanesboro Arts, Cahlander will lead the collaborative community creation of a glass mosaic mural to be installed on the Coffee Street side of the building at 121 Parkway Avenue North in downtown Lanesboro (Pedal Pushers Café). Her community project aims to enhance the pedestrian experience by activating and strengthening the connection between Parkway Avenue and the Coffee Street Walking Bridge.
Cahlander is an early-career artist with experience teaching hands-on mosaic courses for participants of all ages. With mosaic-making sessions scheduled in a variety of spaces in Lanesboro, Cahlander is excited about the opportunity to work directly with area residents and visitors to create a community-produced mosaic mural that encourages walkability and teaches creative problem solving, inter-generational learning, and community service through hands-on art-making.
In addition to helping assemble the mosaic, Cahlander is also seeking out community members willing to donate unwanted mirrors and blue or green china to be used as materials in the mosaic mural. Please stop by the Lanesboro Arts Gallery or contact Adam at 507-467-2446 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have materials to contribute to the project.
Community members interested in participating in Cahlander’s project will have multiple opportunities to do so. The first community mosaic making session is taking place at the trail head near the Lanesboro Visitor Center on Saturday, September 9, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., in conjunction with Root River Trail Towns’ “Taste of the Trail” event. Mosaic making is scheduled for the following day from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 10, on the sidewalk outside the front of the Lanesboro Arts Gallery at 103 Parkway Avenue North. Cahlander will also be set up for mosaic making at Sylvan Park on September 9 and 10 from 6-8 p.m. before both screenings of Lanesboro Community Theater’s “Silent Movies in the Park After Dark.”
Community mosaic making continues at Pedal Pushers Café in Lanesboro on Tuesday, September 12, and on Thursday, September 14, from 2:30-6:30 p.m. each day in their upper-level dining room. The final mosaic making session at the Lanesboro Public Library is scheduled for Saturday, September 16, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the book sale nook.
No experience or time commitment is necessary to participate in the community mosaic making events. Help out for 10 minutes or stick around for an hour; all contributions are welcome and appreciated.
Cahlander’s two-week residency will wrap up on Tuesday, September 19, at 6 p.m. with a capstone reception and discussion in front of the installed mosaic mural on the Coffee Street side of the Pedal Pushers Building.
The mosaic’s design was created by Cahlander, based on visits to Lanesboro, discussion with Lanesboro Arts staff, review of materials from the March community brainstorming session for the 2017 St. Mane Theatre mural, and insights and experience from her own body of work and past projects. The design, while refined and not a first draft, will continue to be developed and revised. A desire to bring awareness to and celebrate community assets and traditions is at the core of Cahlander’s practice and designs.
As Cahlander worked with Lanesboro Arts to develop her residency project, the four boarded up door/window spaces on the Coffee Street side of the building at 121 Parkway Avenue North were identified as an ideal location for the installation of a community mosaic mural that aligns with the vision and goals of the Lanesboro Arts campus. In addition to helping address the need to further define and strengthen the pedestrian connection between Parkway Avenue and the Coffee Street Walking Bridge, Cahlander’s residency project increases the beauty of an overlooked place in the community while encouraging community pride and a heightened cultural identity through public art. By attracting more pedestrian activity to the block of Coffee Street west of Parkway Avenue, assets such as the Coffee Street Walking Bridge, the County Road 8 underpass, Bass Pond, the Poetry Parking Lot and Gateway Park are more likely to be utilized and appreciated. Opportunities to connect with the river are also enhanced.
Cahlander has worked as a mosaic artist since 2007, beginning with a community program for young adults called Artswork, based out of St. Paul, Minn. In her four years with Artswork, she experienced working as an individual and as a group to bring art to underutilized spaces around the Twin Cities through large-scale mosaic murals. She is a graduate of Luther College in Decorah and is a former marketing communications coordinator with Hennepin Theatre Trust, working to promote the trust‘s downtown place-making initiative, Made Here. In 2016, Cahlander led the collaborative creation of a mosaic mural installed on the façade of the Orpheum Theatre, along with a vertical garden. She also has glass mosaics installed within businesses in Decorah.
Cahlander comes highly recommended by the Lanesboro Arts Residency panel, from a pool of more than 65 applicants of artists from Minnesota and New York City. Since the Lanesboro Residency Program’s inception in 2001, Lanesboro Arts has brought 45 artists, or artist collectives, to Lanesboro for artist residencies. Supported by the Jerome Foundation, the Artist Residency Program provides opportunities for emerging artists to create new work and integrate work into the local community. Lanesboro Arts Residencies include stipend, lodging and studio space.
For more information, visit lanesboroarts.org or call 507-467-2446.