“Plant Wisdom Mural” Open Studio & Welcome Event with Camila Leiva
The Anderson Center invites community members of all ages to participate in an Open Studio and Welcome Event with public artist-in-residence Camila Leiva at ArtReach in downtown Red Wing on Saturday, May 22 from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. and Sunday, May 23 from noon to 3 p.m. Meet Camila, learn more about her mural-making practice, and help shape the design of her Plant Wisdom Mural project through hands-on painting and art-making! Individuals or groups interested in participating are welcome to drop in during those times or contact Adam Wiltgen at email@example.com to schedule a time to visit and paint.
Camila is living and working in the Red Wing community the entire month of May as part of the Anderson Center’s new First Step Public Artist Residency Program, which aims to serve as a catalyst for social action and relationship building in Red Wing. The organization believes this engagement-driven residency program has the potential to serve as the first step in a longer-term process, led by the artist and the community, of creating meaningful and impactful public art & placemaking projects.
Based in Minneapolis, Camila is the daughter of a Minnesotan mother and a Chilean father. She was born in Santiago, Chile during the final years of the military dictatorship. A self-described bridge-builder, Camila identifies with Nepantla, a concept from Chicana feminism describing those who exist between multiple worlds. This space of in-betweenness helps her build community across difference, and she brings that to her art practice.
To develop and design the Plant Wisdom Mural, Camila is facilitating storytelling and knowledge sharing about plant medicine and vegetable growing with a committee of Latinx, Prairie Island and Red Wing community gardeners. With Camila committed to engaging the Red Wing community throughout 2021, her deliberate and intentional design process will be transformed into four 5′ x 5′ murals painted by community members and installed in places of significance later this year.
On May 22 and 23, visitors have the chance to get to know Camila and view images of murals she has previously worked on and painted. She will lead hands-on preparation and painting of the mural material while also providing participants with creative opportunities to share their own ideas that will inform the Plant Wisdom Murals’ concept and designs. The murals’ designs will be painted onto parachute cloth, a canvas-like material that is installed in a manner similar to applying wallpaper. Participants will help Camila prime this material, collaboratively paint some of her own designs, and paint mural sections solid colors that could be used as collage pieces later in the final design.
Sharing plant knowledge, as well as gardening wisdom, is a powerful way to build community across difference. Camila believes that turning the Red Wing area’s diversity of plant and garden knowledge into murals makes visible the beauty of the natural world, has an educational purpose of sharing that knowledge with a wider public, and can help mark specific places as sites of meaning-making.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Creative Support grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.