From the St. Croix Watershed Research Station:
Three artists have been selected to live and work at the St. Croix Watershed Research Station’s historic Pine Needles cabin this summer. The artists and writers will each spend two to four weeks at the cabin on the banks of the Wild & Scenic St. Croix River.
Since 2001, the program has welcomed 40 artists and writers and has provided dedicated time and space for participants to pursue artistic interests. It also lets artists interact with Research Station scientists and the community, informing their creative process. The Research Station is the field research station of the Science Museum of Minnesota.
The 2017 artists-in-residence are Sarah Stonich (Minneapolis), Elizabeth Belz (Grand Marais, MN) and Karlyn Eckman (St. Paul).
Sarah Stonich is the author of several novels, including The Ice Chorus and These Granite Islands. Her memoir Shelter: Off The Grid in the Mostly Magnetic North, won the NEMBA award and has been re-issued in paperback by the University of Minnesota Press. Her novel Vacationland was a MN Book Award finalist and has been a selected community read by nearly a dozen Midwestern cities. First in a trilogy set at a remote resort in Northern Minnesota border country, Vacationland will be followed this spring by Laurentian Divide. Stonich will continue work on the final piece of this trilogy,Watershed, during her residency.
Elizabeth Belz, a Stillwater native, primarily works with metal, fiber, printmaking and basketweaving. She has studied at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, John C. Campbell Folk School, North House Folk School and Penland School of Crafts in the Blue Ridge Mountains. During her residency, she hopes to create a series of sculptures, made of forged and fabricated steel with added natural elements, inspired by the landscape at Pine Needles.
Karlyn Eckman paints in the genres of landscape, historical and nautical art, working in oil and watercolor painting and metal point drawing. She will use the residency to reflect upon the intersection of her two professional lives, which are united by water. In addition to her art, Eckman has been a professor in the Department of Forest Resources at the University of Minnesota, where she focused on the human dimensions of water quality issues. “Water is the unifying theme of my life’s work, and I seek to capture its beauty and to interpret its condition,” says Eckman. She intends to create a series of drawings and paintings featuring historical and natural sites within the St. Croix watershed and at the Research Station. At the same time, she seeks a greater understanding and insight into integrating natural sciences and the arts.
The Pine Needles cabin was originally built in 1912 by conservationist J.W.G. Dunn and was later owned by his son James Taylor Dunn, who served as chief librarian of the Minnesota Historical Society from 1955 to 1972 and published the first major history of the St. Croix River in 1965. It was donated to the St. Croix Watershed Research Station in 1998. The Pine Needles residency was piloted by writer Laurie Allmann in 2001, and was opened up to other artists starting in 2002.