Visitors to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport may have got a glimpse of some familiar art in a Terminal 2 display case near gate H10. Wesley Fawcett Creigh, a former Springboard for the Arts Hinge Arts artist in residence who spent six weeks in Otter Tail County last year and whose family owns a cabin on Battle Lake, has a new exhibit at the airport titled “The Friendship Committee.”
During her time in Otter Tail County, Creigh collected audio interviews with residents on topics like age, culture, religion, race and gender, centering the conversations around topics of “home” and “belonging.” Much of the work in “The Friendship Committee” comes from what she gathered during her residency, in particular her research with the immigrant community in Pelican Rapids — a juxtaposition of rural imagery (dairy farms, grain elevators) and images from the cultures of the people she interviewed (the Mexican and Halal markets, taco joints, multiethnic sports teams, and more). “The Friendship Committee” is a multimedia exhibit that includes a series of 2-D “felt paintings” as well as video animations and audio and video interviews.
In addition to the Pelican Rapids community, Creigh also worked with members of A Place to Belong social club, hosting a series of workshops that culminated in an installation titled “Model Home” featuring an animated video made entirely of artwork created by the club’s members in the background and, in the foreground, a sculpture created by the group.
Her residency was in January and February of 2018 and her work was shown at the Otter Tail County Historical Society Museum in Fergus Falls in June and July of that year.
“Wesley was our first Homecoming artist and reconnected to the community right away, and facilitated workshops in Fergus Falls and Pelican Rapids,” says Naomi Schliesman, artist development director for rural programming at Springboard for the Arts. “This completed work and exhibition will be on display until October 2020. This is a great celebration of this work and collaboration with the communities she worked with. If you are traveling this holiday season or have family who will be going through the Minneapolis airport, please tell them about this exhibition!”
Creigh’s exhibit coincides with the upcoming 2019 Alliance of Artists Communities Conference in St Paul. Springboard will be hosting a panel discussion at the conference about the Hinge Arts program, how arts organizations create space for dialogue and building rural-urban solidarity.
Although she lives in Arizona, Creigh continues to return to the area often, working on projects started during her residency and taking on new projects. You may have seen a mural she did under the Court Street bridge depicting landmarks from around the area.
Springboard for the Arts in Fergus Falls will be hosting a meet and greet for their next Hinge Arts resident artist, Falcon Gott today, Nov. 26, at 5 p.m. Gott is a filmmaker who’s looking to transition from documentary-style short films to narrative film. The meet and greet is free and open to the public, and while guests are welcome to bring a dish, side or dessert, it’s not required.