Mary Jennings (VPA, Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $15,000 public service grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs.
HOUGHTON — Dylan Miner identifies strongly with his Wiisaakodewinini, or Métis, ancestors — a people of mixed indigenous and European ancestry who have lived in both Canada and the United States. Since his own family ancestors lived on Drummond Island in Lake Huron, water, land and settler colonialism are important elements of his art, his activism and his scholarship and teaching.
Miner is Director of American Indian and Indigenous Studies, and Associate Professor in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University. He sits on the Michigan Indian Education Council and is a founding member of the Justseeds artists collective. Miner holds a PhD from The University of New Mexico and has published more than sixty journal articles, book chapters, critical essays, and encyclopedia entries.
Presenting himself humbly as a learner of indigenous languages, Miner introduced himself to the audience at Michigan Tech in two of them.
In addition to expressing his environmental concerns, Miner demonstrated how he uses art on social media to call attention to socio-political injustices against indigenous people. He also displayed artwork created by one of his own Métis ancestors.
Bonnie Peterson, a local artist who attended Miner’s talk, was impressed by his use of art to communicate messages on social media.
“His work turns the patriarchial power establishment on its head,” Peterson said. “He reacts to current events by creating thoughtful, compelling images immediately, and freely distributing them on social media. His image ‘no pipelines in/under the great lakes’ is especially salient because of the threats to Great Lakes from oil spills, and also robbing the Great Lakes of water.”
Miner also mentioned how he altered some of his images after talking with people directly impacted by extractive industries. He noted as an example his discussions with Menominee tribal activists fighting Aquila’s Back 40 mining project, which could destroy indigenous sacred sites and impact the Menominee River. He changed his original design to include the Menominee ancestral bear and the sturgeon.
Collaboration is important in Miner’s work. He spoke about working with others to create projects that combine creative activities with environmental consciousness or stewardship, such as a traditional building of a birch bark canoe, an urban sugar bush, Native kids riding bikes and his recent Drummond Island reclamation project.
According to Lisa Gordillo, curator of the exhibit, “Miner’s work reimagines the landscape through digitally adjusted images that counterbalance cyanotype and contemporary processes. Cyanotype is an antiquated photographic method developed in 1842, the same year that the Treaty of La Pointe ceded Anishinaabeg Lands in the western Upper Peninsula and northeastern Wisconsin. The artist’s use of cyanotype builds a physical and conceptual connection to colonial Land expropriation, capitalist expansion, and the development of new image-making technologies. Our viewpoint is stirred as Miner distorts his original images, applying pigments, minerals, and smoke, shifting their size and scale.”
Local artist Joyce Koskenmaki, who attended Miner’s talk and visited the exhibit, commented on the cyanotype images.
“Dylan’s cyanotype images at the Rosza are beautiful,” Koskenmaki said. “His work and his talk speak to me about art for poor people: art that can be done with simple materials, and art with a message. I felt inspired.”
Miguel Levy, artist and Michigan Tech professor of physics, who is active in the local Indigenous Peoples’ Day Campaign group, said he was especially impressed by Miner’s connections between art and indigenous resistance.
Levy noted, “Regarding Dylan Miner’s talk, I found the connections he made during his talk quite illuminating: [between] the social and political dimensions of his art, between indigenous culture and resistance to environmental devastation, and between the revolutionary potential of the indigenous tradition and its points of coincidence with the anti-hierarchical and anti-capitalist traditions of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) labor union.”
Emily Shaw, Michigan Tech PhD student in environmental engineering, who introduced Miner, told Keweenaw Now Miner’s stories and connections inspired her to ask herself questions.
“So often we view art and science as unrelated but making art and doing science are processes that require us to ask ourselves what do we know and what skills do I have that can contribute to our learning? Dylan opened with those questions and shared the story of his art, weaving connections between land abuses, indigenous rights, and labor unions. I left inspired to make such connections in my work as a scientist.”
Dylan Miner has also authored and edited several limited-edition books // booklets. His book Creating Aztlán: Chicano Art, Indigenous Sovereignty, and Lowriding Across Turtle Island was published in 2014 by the University of Arizona Press. In 2010, he was awarded an Artist Leadership Fellowship through the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. He has been an artist-in-residence at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, École supérieure des beaux-arts in Nantes, Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, Rabbit Island, and The Santa Fe Art Institute.
Learn about Dylan Minor’s projects. Thanks to Bonnie Peterson for this link.
Learn more about Dylan Miner and the art he shares on justseeds.org.
By Michele Bourdieu
With videos and photos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now
Due to popular demand, the “World War I & the Copper Country” exhibit, “Art & Warfare,” will run for four days next week in the Immersive Visualization Studio, EERC 510. There will be special hours:
- 5-6 p.m. Monday (10/29)
- 3:30-5 p.m. Tuesday (10/30), Thursday and Friday (NOV. 1-2)
This exhibit features the sketches and paintings of the Official Artists of the American Expeditionary Forces, a group of eight accomplished artists sent to France to visually depict the war.
Their work is dramatically displayed on the Immersive Visualization Studio’s screen wall—twenty-four 48” screens supported by eight computers—and accompanied by jazz renditions of contemporary wartime popular songs arranged and performed by Bill Carrothers from his collection, “Armistice 1918.”
“Art & Warfare” realizes the integration of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) by facilitating multisensory reflections on aesthetics, technology and warfare.
The Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts Concourse Gallery is featuring two artists this year: jd slack and Michael Letts.
jd slack: what makes a wall
jd slack is a pastel artist and professor of communication and cultural studies. Her paintings integrate brilliant color, provocative imagery, and thoughtful engagement with physical and imaginative worlds. She lives and works in the Traprock Valley on the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan, but travels the world to gather images and inspiration.
The obvious wall, the build-a-wall-and-make-Mexico-pay-for-it wall, makes an appearance here, as it must. But that wall, like all walls, makes its appearance where there were once no walls. Real people build walls: With our imaginations: with hate, fear, and the very belief in separateness. With what we do or don’t do … with teaching what to value or not. With real stuff: wires, rocks, pebbles, metal, and earth.— JD Slack
Michael Letts: Ancient Coast Series
Michael Letts lives and works in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as a practicing artist and Professor of Art Education at Northern Michigan University. He holds an MFA in Painting from The Ohio State University. His paintings have been shown in numerous regional, national, and international exhibitions.
This series depicts spaces, and contemplates the energy that is trapped in the boundaries of physicality … Rocks hold ancient strength … water too is a force, and a source, it separates, dissolves, erodes, and unites at the same time. It contemplates the eternal and ephemeral … solid and spirit, all together, in the world, existing as a whole. — Michael Letts
For more information on all our gallery events, visit our events calendar.
Vendor booth applications are now being accepted for the 21st Annual Home for the Holidays Gift Mart. This festive event will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24 in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.
The Home for the Holidays Gift Mart is a juried show, guaranteeing patrons an excellent and varied assortment of quality hand-crafted items. A total of 50 vendors will be accepted this year and local crafters and artists are encouraged to apply.
Those interested are asked to contact the Rozsa Center for a booth application via email or by calling 7-2858. Early applications will be reviewed Friday (Oct. 19), and vendors will be notified of their acceptance next week. Applications received after this Friday will be reviewed upon receipt, with the application deadline Nov. 16.
For complete vendor details, contact Mary Ann Struthers, 7-2858.
The Department of Visual and Performing Arts and the Rozsa Center are excited to announce the fall gallery exhibition, “Never Empty,” featuring work by artists Dylan Miner (Ann Arbor) and Amanda Breitbach (Nacodoches, Texas).
The exhibit will run from Friday, Oct. 12 through Saturday, Nov. 10 in Michigan Tech’s A-Space Gallery, within the Rozsa Center. Gallery hours are M-F 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays. A reception will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27. Artist Amanda Breitbach will give an artist talk at 6 p.m. that evening.
The exhibit, curated by Lisa Gordillo, curator and director of the Rozsa Galleries, features photographs by Breitbach and mixed media paintings by Miner. Both artists’ work investigates stories about local and national lands.
Our collaboration is dynamic and thought-provoking. The exhibit digs into the myths and the tensions present in our landscapes, and the peoples who have histories there. Both artists work to uncover, and to showcase, stories that may not be present at a first glance.—Lisa Gordillo
This exhibit is part of Gordillo’s effort to showcase minority voices within the gallery, and to pay special attention to First Nation artists. According to Gordillo, “It’s very important for all of us, but especially for Michigan Tech, as our campus sits on Ojibwe lands. I hope this exhibit inspires thoughtful conversations about landscape, land-use and the many heritages of our nation.”
Amanda Breitbach’s photographs and Dylan Miner’s cyanotype-process paintings recompose the narratives we often speak when talking about “the land,” “expansion,” and “environments.” Together, the two artists dig into the myths and tensions that exist within the landscape and peoples who have histories there.
Breitbach is a photographer whose work focuses on the complex relationships between people and land. She grew up on a family ranch in Montana; she offers portraits of a farm in decline, centered within the expansive high plains. Dylan Miner is a Wiisaakodewinini (Métis) artist, activist, and scholar. His work reimagines the landscape as he layers pigments, minerals, and smoke on top of Upper Peninsula images.
The artists’ visit is supported in part by the Michigan Tech Visiting Women and Minority Lecture Series, which is funded by a grant to the Office of Institutional Equity from the State of Michigan’s King-Chavez-Parks Initiative. Both artists will spend time with the community during their visit.
For more details, contact Lisa Gordillo 7-3096.
This academic year, we will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Michigan Tech. We will hold a celebratory 25th Anniversary Gala beginning at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.
Celebrate with an evening of cocktails, dinner and live arts entertainment. The VPA 25th Anniversary Gala will feature intimate performances in the lobby and on stage, and live auction supporting the Marian and John Irish Award for Environmental Art, the Visual and Performing Arts Department Theatre Scholarship Fund and the Rozsa Center’s Class Acts Program.
Come dressed for celebration. There will be a cocktail hour (cash bar), full dinner, live music throughout the evening both in the lobby and on stage, an auction of unique arts experiences, artists working during the gala and more.
Tickets for the evening are $75 per person. We will also be selling corporate tables (seating eight) for $1,000. Tickets can be purchased by calling the SDC Ticket Office at 7-2073 or following this link. More information can be found here.
The Rozsa Wall Calendars are here. Pick one up at the Rozsa Center or at any of the more than 120 Houghton and Hancock businesses who display and distribute them each year. For Michigan Tech faculty and staff, we make it easy for you to get your copies of the calendar. If you would like a calendar delivered directly to your campus mailbox, fill out this form. We will gladly send a calendar to you in inter-campus mail.
Featured this year are 12 Rozsa Presenting Series events, more than 33 Visual and Performing Arts events including music, theatre and visual arts events, and the ever-popular 41 North Film festival. From comedy, to dance, to all-around spectacle, you will enjoy the variety and over-the-top fun of the 2018/19 Rozsa Visual and Performing Arts Season.
We have so much ballet this year. Two nights to experience the magic of the “Nutcracker” in November and December, then the world-famous Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in February. —Bethany Jones, Rozsa Center Marketing Manager
Season Ticket Packages are on still on sale, offering savings of 18-37 percent. The popular “Pick 6” Season Ticket Package has returned and is an even better value this year. We brought back both a “Pick 3” option, and the very popular “Family Pack” option that will help you bring the whole family to a big show at an affordable price. We hope there is a package that works for you. Thank you to all of our long-time season ticket holders, we’re holding your seats. For new season ticket buyers, welcome, we look forward to seeing you this season. Not interested in a Season Ticket Package? Single-ticket sales began last month.
For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Michigan Tech Ticketing Services at the Central Ticket Office (SDC), call 7-2073 or go online.
Imagine the sunlight slanting toward the forest floor, filtered through viridescent leaves and pine needles. Imagine walking slowly, meditatively, through the wedges of light, fully focused on the moment, completely present. Dust motes swirl in the light. Birds call to each other above. A fly buzzes by. Twigs and decaying leaves crunch under foot. From branches above, delicate hemp banners painted in many shades of green to mimic the landscape waft gently on the breeze.
Meditation, the practice of focusing solely on the present moment and letting go of the clutter of the mind, appears to have an increasing number of health benefits. Anne Beffel, professor of visual and performing arts at Michigan Technological University and director of Studio Here Now, intentionally looks for ways to create space for mindfulness within public art. Studio Here Now is a creative public art design studio and gallery located on campus in Wadsworth Residence Hall.
Read the full story on mtu.edu/news
“American and French Propaganda Posters” and “Shell-Shocked: Footage & Sounds of the Front,” are two separate exhibits that are meant to be seen together.
Both are part of the community-wide centennial commemoration of the “Great War, World War I & the Copper Country,” running through Nov. 11.
During the gallery opening reception, Stefka Hristova (HU) will give a talk entitled, “Iconography & War.” World War I called for broad public participation through multiple avenues: joining the military, buying liberty bonds or saving stamps, conserving food, taking up a public job. Everyone was expected to do their part, and new modes of propaganda were key to ensuring society’s “total mobilization.”
“American and French Propaganda Posters,” reflects numerous appeals to mass mobilization, resulting in some iconic images from the American campaign, for example, James Montgomery Flagg’s “Uncle Sam” and A.E. Foringer’s “Greatest Mother in the World” for the American Red Cross.
Hristova’s talk will take a closer look at the posters to reveal patterns of representations of men, women and children that tie into changing norms of social propriety.
In contrast to the patriotic rhetoric of propaganda posters, the immersive multimedia display of “Shell-Shocked” brings to life the reality of soldiers who fought the war, inviting visitors to experience soldiers’ journey from training to combat, from life at the front to demobilization and return home, if they survived the war’s abuses.
An installation space featuring a custom circular steel truss equipped with six 40” screens, twelve loudspeakers and 6,000 watts of available amplified power, “Shell-Shocked” recreates the sounds to accompany historic silent film footage of the war.
The installation was crafted by Kent Cyr (VPA) and Christopher Plummer (VPA) with sound-design assistance from students Luke Johnson, Brendan Espinosa and Noah Budd from the Visual and Performing Arts Department, Sound Design-BA program.
“American and French Propaganda Posters” are on loan from the permanent collection of the Marquette Regional History Center. The exhibits are made possible in part by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council (MHC), an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the WW1CC program do not necessarily reflect those of the NEH or MHC.
Light refreshments will be served at the opening reception, 5-7 p.m. Friday (Sept. 7). The exhibits will run until Oct. 2, during gallery hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday – Friday and 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday.