Literary arts flourish in “Greater Minnesota”

Having just participated in the Rural Arts and Culture Summit at the beautiful U of M-Morris, I am overwhelmed with what I have learned about what’s happening and the people who are celebrating the arts in small towns and communities throughout Minnesota and the nation. Representatives of seventeen states shared their experiences and wisdom – any hint of whining eclipsed by emphasis on collaboration and the power of the arts. Much more on this in forthcoming blog posts – when I get it all sorted out in my head.

In the meantime a couple of additions to a recent post on literary events happening in our midst: (Original post –

  • Bemidji, which sports the tagline “first City on the Mississippi, First City of Arts”, is planning three days for Studio Cruise ’15, October 16-18. The event features tours of open artists’ studios where artists will demonstrate techniques and share their creative processes. This creativity midst the fall scenery of Minnesota’s Northwoods. Contact or call 877 250 5959.
  • The following week, October 23-24, is the Fifth Annual Prairie Gate Literary Festival at the University of Minnesota-Morris. The event features writers including John Hildebrand (creative nonfiction), Eric Smith (YA fiction/non-fiction and literary agent), Emma Bull (sci-fi and fantasy), Vandana Khanna (poet) and Ebba Segerberg (translator). More

My hope is that this list will grow as reticent Minnesotans get up and do what needs to be done to promote the incredible wealth of literary efforts that reflect, shape and enrich the arts and culture profile of the state.

As events rise to the surface they will appear here – meanwhile I will be thinking about how to make the case that writers, illustrators, indie presses and bookstores are essential, if shy, players on the arts and culture scene.




2 responses to “Literary arts flourish in “Greater Minnesota”

  1. Good news! I’m just back from a lunch in Lanesboro at a friend’s farm. Was going to hit this art community, Bush Foundation award winner for community innovation, but realized it was Rhubarb Festival and the place was crawling with people to add to the 750 who live there! So we headed home with an addition to our “next time” list.

  2. Whiting Shirley

    Hi Mary – Another excellent column – and I’m glad to hear that the arts are flourishing in rural areas. With all the political news on TV one might think that’s all people talk about.

    Since Lucy Brusic is retiring from editing the MISF newsletter, and Evelyn Klein (an artist, poet and writer) will be the new editor, I’m wondering if you’d consider letting her use one of your columns in the paper edition of the Practical Thinking. (this is just my idea, I haven’t mentioned it to anyone else. It seems like a good way to enhance awareness of both.)

    If you think this is a good idea, and if you give me permission, I’ll mention it at the next board meeting. Or you may want to contact Evelyn yourself and offer the idea to her.

    I’ve been attending the meetings of the Achievement Gap folks and find them very interesting. Don Fraser often attends, and occasionally Arvonne. Fr. Gov Quie showed up at a few of them. We are certainly in times of great transition and the attendant confusion. I still concentrate on the concerns of Early Childhood, especially the developmental needs of children. The first 5-7 years of life are so important and since I spent 10 years as an elementary librarian, this is the population nearest my heart.

    With the emphasis on STEM nowadays, I take every opportunity to tell the world that it should be STEAM – the ARTS are what stimulate the brain and people need to be aware of that. (especially politicians, who’ll make cuts in programs they don’t see the value in)

    Well- I’ve gone on long enough. I hope you’re well and happy and whenever you want to meet for lunch or coffee I’m always ready.


    Shirley Whiting

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