Dakota Hochunk Anishinabe Settler
Acrylic on canvas
Mississippi River Story* that Inspired the Art:
“My story of the Mississippi starts in college, when I was maybe 19. My architect professor assigned us a project to go down by the river and collect objects and turn it into some sort of art installation. So, I started to unearth what experiences around the rock formations, down on the east bank of the Mississippi River, actually made for a creative and inspiring experience. And so really what came out of that was my interest, my initial interest, in the Mississippi River. And then I kind of put that project away. I would cross the Mississippi River every time I would go to class, so that was my secondary experience of the River. I guess my mom used to tell me that I was born along the Mississippi River, so that was cool. I think I was born on the university campus, at Mercy Hospital, so that was really neat to know. And then senior year of architecture school I did a rain garden project about the Mississippi River, and I argued that if we installed rain gardens all around the Mississippi that would mitigate a lot of the storm run-off and the farming run-off from agricultural farms, and it would mitigate a lot of the contamination from this part of the river in Minnesota. And, so I started to interrogate questions like is the river swimmable, and how close can you get to the river, and what are the boundaries and the banks of the Mississippi River. And that was kind of my second or third experience of the Mississippi. And then it has always been in my brain ever since college, and I’ve been out for a couple years, and I mean it’s one of the most massive rivers in the country, and we’re right on it. We’re lucky to have two cities that border the river, and ever since I graduated college, I’ve lived three or four blocks from the Mississippi River. And that has really informed my understanding of environmental concerns, particularly with development, run-off, building things close to the river. So that has been my experience of the Mississippi River. I love it. I love this storytelling project. I love everything about this little hut thing. It’s very cool, thank you.”
*Note: This is not the artist’s own story, but a story gathered through a collaborative research project. Learn more.