Crystal Creek’s 2018 CAIRs had the rare opportunity to interact during Miranda Moen’s June community workshop in Houston, Minn. Pictured from left are Rachael Button, Peter Kraus and Miranda Moen.
Photo by Tyler Anderson.

Artists reveal Houston County-inspired work at capstone event


Citizen artists reveal work produced during 2018 Houston County residency

What do an architectural designer, a poet, and a chef all have in common? Well, for starters, they each spent a week in Houston County last year, each exploring their own concept of “home.” Since the conclusion of last year’s residency program, the collection of works created by the 2018 Citizen Artists in Residence (CAIRs) has been distilled into poignant poetry, recipes, and new heritage construction in Houston County. Meet the CAIRs and experience the culmination of their respective 2018 residencies at their capstone event on Monday, July 29, from 6-8 p.m., at KARST, 111 East Cedar Street in Houston.

The 2018 program marked the second year for the Crystal Creek Citizen-Artist Residency. The residency — based just outside Houston in Mound Prairie, Minn. — continued its partnership with the Houston Arts Resource Council (HARC) for its second (and third) year and encourages creatives from interdisciplinary fields — including architecture, social and natural sciences, and the humanities — to apply.

Residency coordinator Erin Dorbin shared, “In year two [2018], our applicant numbers nearly doubled. It was another extremely well rounded and inspired group of creative professionals who applied, and they all took the time to draft thoughtful plans for how to spend time connecting and creating with the people and places of Houston County. A strong theme also rose from the submitted applications: a driftless homecoming.”

“I want to come back home and serve the people I grew up with,” wrote aspiring rural architect Miranda Moen from Houston County’s Freeburg community. Moen, an architectural designer, started off the 2018 residency in June, exploring heritage structures related to her Norwegian-American roots and having conversations with residents about how they feel and think about local architecture. She said of the residency, “I have wanted to engage with my community in this way ever since I started college, and the program was the perfect opportunity to start creating a new relationship to my hometown.” The experience has not only given her leads on work in the area, but also cemented her desire to “come back home and serve the people I grew up with. We can have dignified design, too.”

Moen was followed by poet Rachael Button in July. During her week in Houston County, Button thoroughly explored the area through the lens of contemplating making the driftless region her permanent home, writing in her notebook all the while. “What does it mean to be from a sliver of land unscraped by glaciers in the flat, fertile Midwest? How can you process the places you stay, and the ones you leave behind?”

Chef and food artist Peter Kraus from Decorah, Iowa, rounded out the 2018 residency in August, using his time to explore the region through the lens of food, connecting with local farmers, foragers, chefs, and artists. In his residency, Kraus hoped to help define a driftless cuisine that is made up of the native flavors of its forests, pastures and rivers, and supports the many small farms well-suited to the region’s landscape.

Join program coordinators and all three CAIRs on Monday, July 29, at KARST for a celebratory evening of stories and ideas of rural architecture, driftless cuisine, and the people and places of Houston County. There will be copies of the new issue of the annual residency publication “Field Recordings” available, too, as well as other takeaways produced by CAIRs.

For more information about the Crystal Creek Citizen-Artist Residency, visit

About Crystal Creek Citizen-Artist Residency

Each year, the Crystal Creek Citizen-Artist Residency invites creative professionals from various disciplines to discover Minnesota’s driftless region and connect with the people and places of Houston County. The selected CAIRS respectively spend seven days producing new works inspired by and in conversation with the region. CAIRS also share their skills with the community in a series of hands-on workshops.

About Houston Arts Resource Council

HARC is a 507 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, established to promote the arts, artists, and artisans of the Houston area.


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