Event blends silence, poetry and movement in ‘migrations’There are several words that define the word “migration”: relocation, exodus, movement, journey, voyage.
By: Kathy Laakso, Superior Telegram
There are several words that define the word “migration”: relocation, exodus, movement, journey, voyage.
Those words also define “art.” The art organization, Superior Public Art Creating Community Environments (SPACES), which focuses on art as an economic development tool, places temporary art installations into vacant downtown Superior storefronts. These installations known as the Phantom Galleries Superior initiative, partner with the Superior Business Improvement District, and invite the community to experience this type of exhibition environment.
The next event, “Migrations,” an afternoon of multi-media performances of poetry, film, and music takes place at 1112 Tower Ave., at 3 p.m. Nov. 12. Featured is arts collaboration in the form of musical composition, abstract film, poetry videos and live poetry readings. These collaborations by northern Minnesota artists Sheila Packa and Kathy McTavish are about change and life’s transformations.
For McTavish, a composer and free-style cellist, “Migrations” came about as a multi-media installation. Her abstract and still-motion videos, which are composed of images in and around the Twin Ports, can be viewed 24/7. McTavish’s installation was designed especially for the Phantom Galleries Superior space at 1215 Tower Ave.
“I was immediately drawn to this space between the Androy Hotel and Main Club on Tower Avenue. As a cellist and composer, I usually work with sound and this installation challenged me to explore silence ... to work with the sounds of the street ... the art would be in a storefront separated by glass from the viewer ... a window reflecting the light and colors of the outside world, and a luminous presence of video, shadow, and lights inside,” McTavish said
At the reception for Phantom Galleries in October, McTavish provided live cello accompaniment to her video installation of the blurred images of Superior and Duluth as a broken hymn to the vacant spaces that line the many streets of urban America. She views her cello’s musical range to provide her an expressive source for much of her multi-media work. She sees an elemental beauty that exists in these spaces — the human ghosts that inhabit the rooms, the streets, our memories, and our myths. In 2009, McTavish was awarded an American Composers Forum/Jerome Foundation Commission, and an Arrowhead Regional Arts Council/McKnight Foundation Grant to compose, record and perform a work for electrified solo cello. In 2010, she received an Arts and Cultural Heritage Individual Fellowship from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council for her work blending sound and film. Kathy will give cello performances throughout the afternoon on Nov. 12.
Packa, who is the current Duluth Poet Laureate for 2010-2012, has edited the book, “Migrations: Poetry & Prose for Life’s Transitions.” The book features the work of 75 Lake Superior area and northern Minnesota and Wisconsin writers. Those writers participating with Packa and McTavish on Saturday will include Jan Chronister, Peggy Trojan, Jasmine Baumgarten, Jill Hinners, Kat Mandeville, Linda LeGarde Grover, Tina Higgins, Lisa Poje Angelos, Karen Keenan, Laura Krugeman-Kochman, Yvonne Rutford, Gary Boelhower, and Julie Gard.
The book release, coinciding with McTavish’s gallery installation focuses on poetry about life’s transitions. Much like Kathy’s ever-changing videos, each of the writings also captures a moment of change. The strong and beautiful collection shows that we are all birds in a larger pattern of migration traveling back and forth from memory to new beginnings. The book published by Wildwood River Press is funded in part by the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council with money from a Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Community Arts Learning grant.
Packa’s poem “Migrations” from her book, “Cloud Birds”, accompanies another of McTavish’s multi-media video installations in the window at 1112 Tower Ave. Copies of the book will also be available for sale and signing during the afternoon event.
In addition to “Migrations”, Packa has three books of published poems. By her own words, “I search for poetry that is physical and metaphysical. I like strong, clear images, and memorable language. From girl to grandmother to gone. I write about the changing; the body, bird migration, immigration, love, the landscape. I think poetry should be an experience. Packa has received Arrowhead Regional Arts Council Fellowships, a Community Arts Learning Grant, and two McKnight Fellowship Grants. As the Duluth Poet Laureate, Sheila teaches writing as a tool for life’s transitions in the community at Safe Haven Women’s Shelter, the Family Justice and Domestic Abuse Intervention Project.
“Migrations” is free. Light refreshments will be served.
For more information on McTavish, and Packa, go to www.wildwoodriver.com/rooms/migrations.
For more information on the event and the gallery Initiative, contact Erika Mock at (715) 392-1150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phantom Galleries is a partnership between SPACES, the Superior BID, property owners, artists and the community.