Plant Wisdom Mural Dedication & Reception
The Anderson Center at Tower View invites community members of all ages to a formal dedication and reception for the Plant Wisdom Mural by public artist-in-residence Camila Leiva on Monday, October 24 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. This dedication event with the artist is happening at the mural’s location adjacent to the Del Dankers Pocket Garden at 305 Plum Street in downtown Red Wing. Refreshments will be provided.
Camila spent the entire month of May 2021 developing the Plant Wisdom Mural project as part of the Anderson Center’s First Step Public Artist Residency Program, which aims to serve as a catalyst for social action and relationship building in Red Wing. The daughter of a Minnesotan mother and a Chilean father, Leiva is a self-described bridge-builder. “I feel like I am from both places,” Camila shares. This space of in-betweenness helps her build community across difference, and she brings that to her art practice. Leiva grew up with the Chilean concept of art as a collective process rather than the traditional image of an artist working solo. To her, “The beauty of art is when it’s done in the community.”
During her 2021 residency in Red Wing, Camila engaged with the public through open studio events at Artreach. She also facilitated workshops with a committee of representatives from Hispanic Outreach, Goodhue County Master Gardeners, and the Land & Environment Department at Prairie Island Indian Community where, as Camila explains, “the group brainstormed personal histories and memories with regards to plants, herbs, fruits and flowers with healing and nourishing qualities.” The stories community members shared with Camila directly informed the various plants and baskets featured in the final mural design.
In July 2022, Camila led two mural painting sessions with nearly 60 community members at ArtReach and at the Anderson Center. The mural’s design was painted onto polytab fabric, a canvas-like material. Camila is added detail layers and finished painting the mural in her studio. From Oct 7 – 9, the painted fabric is being installed at its final location on the stucco portion of the wall behind the trellis fence adjacent to the Del Dankers Pocket Garden in a manner similar to applying wallpaper.
Celebrating the Red Wing area’s diversity of plant and garden knowledge through a large-scale mural brings attention to the beauty of the natural world and cultivates understanding by sharing that knowledge with the broader community. The Plant Wisdom Mural’s proximity to the Del Dankers Pocket Garden enhances an existing asset, encourages walkability, and marks the place as a site of meaning-making. Lastly, Camila’s community-driven process teaches creative problem solving, inter-generational learning, and community service through hands-on art-making.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through Creative Support Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.