Born and raised in rural Montana, Tess Fahlgren was the recipient of Montana Quarterly’s 2016 Big Snowy Prize for Nonfiction and was a writer-in-residence at the Mining City Writing Project in 2017. Her work has appeared in The Missoula Independent, The Missoulian, Mountain Outlaw Magazine, Joyland Literary Magazine, and in The Glasgow Courier. She was the founding co-editor of Brine the Zine and co-director of the Montana Book Festival in 2018-19.
For two years before coming to Minneapolis, Tess worked for a program called the Art Mobile of Montana, for which she drove a big van full of art by Montana artists to schools all over the state. Tess led K-12 students in brief art criticism discussions and taught art lessons. In the process, she got to know a lot of really amazing artists and art educators, which has led her to my current graduate project interviewing art teachers about the importance of arts education in rural places. She has been documenting the perspectives of art educators on things like how they approach teaching without a classroom during the pandemic, how art teachers and their classrooms support students dealing with challenging situations and how rural teachers themselves are supported. In Red Wing, she edited and created a podcast that weaves together her personal narrative with the stories of the teachers she talked to.
Tess recorded a video interview with Red Wing Public Schools art teacher Kristin Bray, who shared her own stories about youth arts education, while Tess explored connections to the other interviews with Montana educators she’s conducted. The video interview was edited by Anderson Center staff and published on the Anderson Center Facebook page and YouTube channel.