Friday, September 15, 2006

"Faces of History" in MN

As a visiting artist with the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center in Minnesota, I am painting a series of panels for the "Faces of History" mural, celebrating colorful characters from Minnesota's past. These ten 4' X 8' panels will be installed outdoors in the neighboring town of Wadena, where the Alley Arts Institute plans to complete an ambitious series of mural projects. The town's theme is "Pieces of History", with a jigsaw puzzle motif connecting the various murals around town. This is the second year I have been involved with this project, after helping to plan it two years ago, and painting the first mural last year. There are now almost twenty murals completed by local artists, changing the face of Wadena, MN!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Happy Birthday Jimmy!

Before starting the community mural project I am working on in Minnesota, I flew home to Las Vegas to surprise my boyfriend Jim for his birthday. He was at a bar with friends when he was led outside to the alley to open his "present". He hadn't seen me for 5 weeks and wasn't expecting me back for his birthday, so he was pretty shocked, to say the least.

On the Road Again...

After the Willow Creek Dress project in Wyoming was done, I began traveling again, roadtripping in my van through South Dakota to Minnesota. I passed Sturgis during their biker fest, so I saw my share of bikers, passing and waving to me on the road with signs like "Sturgis for Bust" strapped to the back of their hogs. On the way I stopped at the famous "Wall Drug" in Wall, SD, a drug store from the 1930's which has taken over the Main Street of the small town and become a kind of surreal theme park. It had a t-rex that roars every 15 minutes, a 5-banjo-playing machine, a "creek" where kids can pan for gold, a pharmacy museum, a tiny chapel, walls of historic photos, a soda fountain, shops with western wear and fossils, and loads of other random weirdness. But my main destination was the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD, which is a 114-year-old building covered with murals made of 200,000 ears of corn. There has been a terrible drought in the Dakotas and Nebraska, so this year the towers were not covered, and I met people who were comparing the weather there to the dustbowl of the 1930's.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Last Days in Wyoming...

This shot is from a visit to the nearest town of story, WY, which consists of a few streets of log cabin buildings surrounded by a pine forest. At the general store in town is a big chalkboard so residents can leave messages for each other. Again, I had to get used to small town America, where people not only don't lock their doors, some don't even have locks on their doors! When I needed stamps, I left money and a note in the mailbox for Rose, the mailperson. But I think it was the constant encounters with wildlife that I loved the most. One night walking I came across a field with about 80 deer, grouped in families. Antelope ran by me regualrly, and I startled a couple of porcupines, which move soooo slowly and make very funny noises. It was a wonderful stay in a beautiful state.