Driftless Region citizen-artist residency begins July 16
“The thought certainly crossed my mind: ‘Why should I go to rural Minnesota for a week to write songs?’” Harry Graff Kimball, a New York singer-songwriter, is the first artist of three Citizen-Artists-in-Residence (CAIR) to spend a week in Southeast Minnesota, exploring the area, and writing songs based on the stories he finds.
The new program, Crystal Creek Citizen-Artist Residency, is the first of its kind, keyword being: citizen-artist. A citizen-artist is one who engages in the daily life of the residency’s community; not working in solitude, but in conversation with the region around them. Unlike many artist residencies that simply offer a quiet place in which to work, the CAIR program encourages their artists to “be curious, ask questions, stop and have conversations.” For Kimball, this was a draw, explaining, “I think a lot of artists would love to be alone with their thoughts for a week with no interruptions or expectations – but this is different. It forces a duality: look inward and outward at the same time.”
Kimball starts off the residency on July 16, and will be followed by a pair of podcasters and story-collectors from Minnesota in August, and a geographer from British Columbia in September.
The program works in partnership with the Houston Arts Resource Council (HARC), a non-profit organization devoted to promoting arts in the region. HARC jumped at the chance to work with the Crystal Creek Citizen-Artist Residency, understanding that the interactive component can foster new ideas for creativity, growth and sustainability for the area.
Kimball will be in Houston County from July 16 until July 22, 2017. He is hosting a meet and greet on Tuesday, July 18, at 6 p.m., at the KARST Driftless Guidepost, located at 108 Cedar St., Houston, Minn., and a community workshop on Thursday, July 20, at 6 p.m., at Cross of Christ located at 210 S. Chase St., Houston, Minn. At the workshop, Kimball invites locals to share their stories and help turn them into song. Attendees are welcome to bring an instrument, although no musical experience is required. Both events are free and open to the public; pre-registration is required for the workshop. To register, contact Residency Coordinator Erin Dorbin at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.crystalcreekcitizenartist.com/events.