As a 2018 artist in residence at Lanesboro Arts, Erin Lavelle invites the Lanesboro area community to participate in Something Good, a public art exchange project that engages community members in conversations about value, commodities, sustainability and the power of the stories embedded in an object’s history.
An interdisciplinary artist based in Minneapolis, Lavelle believes that the meaningful exchange of stories and goods amongst neighbors has the power to move a community forward in the way members relate to each other and promote problem solving through deeper listening skills. The Something Good project is an experiment based on the Buddhist concept of dana (generosity) where both the specific gift and the recipient are considered when giving.
Lavelle will join the Lanesboro community for two short residencies in 2018 supported by the Jerome Foundation. The first is taking place from April 23 to May 7 and the second is happening from August 6-20. The local community will have an opportunity to participate in April by offering up “something good” to the project through a donation and storytelling event series. The future of those goods and stories will be revealed in August when Lavelle returns to complete the project, and again, residents and visitors will have an opportunity to participate.
Something Good discussion events
• A welcome discussion and potluck dinner will take place in the upper level studio space above the St. Mane Theatre on Wednesday, April 25, at 6 p.m. Bring a recipe with a story behind it, and prepare to share that story, as well as the food!
• Two happy hour community discussion groups on value and generosity
- Tea party on Thursday, April 26, at Anna V’s Bed & Breakfast; drop-in from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- Pizza party on Friday, April 27, at High Court Pub (second floor); drop-in from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Something Good collection events
• Lavelle will be collecting stories and goods inside the former Slant Avenue space at 105 Elmwood Street East.
- Participants may drop in between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2, Thursday, May 3, or Friday, May 4.
• Lavelle will also be collecting stories and goods at the Lanesboro Farmer’s Market opener on Saturday, May 5, from 9 a.m. to noon.
Lavelle will also be visiting yoga class at Coffee Street Fitness on April 24, the Journalism Classroom of Stena Lieb at Lanesboro School on April 25, SEMCAC Senior Dining with Lanesboro Museum Director Sandy Webb on April 26, and the Full Moon Lanesboro Yoga Retreat on April 28.
Lavelle’s hope is that this project will inspire the community to consider sustainability and alternate futures for goods; will liberate individuals to let go of things that no longer serve them, but that can be used by others; and promote future sharing and exchange.
All goods should be given to the project out of a spirit of radical generosity. Participants are encouraged to give the most valuable offering they are able to share, keeping in mind that value is subjective. What has outgrown its environment or conditions? What might bring more joy or better use to others? What is so beloved that you are compelled to share it?
Lavelle piloted this project in her Minneapolis neighborhood in July 2016 and was overwhelmed with the participation, curiosity, and heartfelt response from these willing collaborators. “What I found was that this project not only provides a platform for people to share stories, but it promotes participation in deep and meaningful listening and exchange by virtue of its intimate and inviting interactions,” Lavelle shared. “I have run into people months after the project who stop me on the street and share an update of their object or story.”
Lavelle is an artist who creates projects in engagement and exchange. She holds an MFA in interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College in Port Townsend, Wash., and is a lifelong Minneapolitan. Lavelle works in interdisciplinary media, primarily installation, fiber arts, Buddhist philosophy, environmental science, storytelling and performance. Her work is often in response to the issues facing contemporary culture and relevant to people’s shared humanity, including homelessness, labor practices, the environment, health and wellness, isolation, social justice and self-love.
Lavelle comes highly recommended by the Lanesboro Arts Residency panel, from a pool of more than 70 applicants of artists from Minnesota and New York City. Since the Lanesboro Residency program’s inception in 2001, Lanesboro Arts has brought 47 artists 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.