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Erin Lavelle

Erin is a site-specific interdisciplinary artist from Minneapolis engaging the Lanesboro community in "Something Good," a public art exchange project promoting conversations about value, commodities, sustainability, and the power of the stories embedded in an object’s history, April 23 - May 7 & Aug. 6 -20, 2018 as an Artist in Residence at Lanesboro Arts.

Minneapolis-based performance artist Erin Lavelle believes that the meaningful exchange of stories and goods amongst neighbors has the power to move a community forward in the way members relate to each other; promoting problem-solving through deeper listening skills. As a 2018 artist in residence at Lanesboro Arts, Erin invites the Lanesboro area community to participate in ‘Something Good,’a public art exchange project that engages community members in conversations about value, commodities, sustainability and the power of the stories embedded in an object’s history. This project is an experiment based on the Buddhist concept of dana (generosity) where both the specific gift and the recipient are considered when giving.

Erin will join the Lanesboro community for two residencies in 2018 supported by the Jerome Foundation, with the first taking place April 23 – May 7 and the second August 6 – 20. Locals will have an opportunity to participate in April by offering up ‘something good’ to the project through a donation and storytelling event series. The future of those goods and stories will be revealed in August when Erin returns to complete the project, and again, residents and visitors will have an opportunity to participate.

Something Good Discussion Events

Something Good Collection Events

Erin will also be visiting Yoga Class at Coffee Street Fitness on April 24, the Journalism Classroom of Stena Lieb at Lanesboro School on April 25, SEMCAC Senior Dining with Lanesboro Museum Director Sandy Webb on April 26, and the Full Moon Lanesboro Yoga Retreat on April 28.

Erin’s hope is that this project will inspire the community to consider sustainability and alternate futures for goods; will liberate individuals to ‘let go’ of things that no longer serve them, but that can be used by others, and promote future sharing and exchange.

All goods should be given to the project out of a spirit of radical generosity. Participants are encouraged to give the most valuable offering they are able to share, keeping in mind that value is subjective. What has outgrown its environment or conditions? What might bring more joy or better use to others? What is so beloved that you are compelled to share it?

Erin piloted this project in her Minneapolis neighborhood in July of 2016 and was overwhelmed with the participation, curiosity, and heartfelt response from these willing collaborators. “What I found was that this project not only provides a platform for people to share stories, but it promotes participation in deep and meaningful listening and exchange by virtue of its intimate and inviting interactions,” Erin shares. “I have run into people months after the project who stop me on the street and share an update of their object or story.”

Erin Lavelle is a public artist who creates projects in engagement and exchange. She works in interdisciplinary media, primarily: installation, fiber arts, Buddhist philosophy, environmental science, storytelling and performance. Her work is often in response to the issues facing contemporary culture and relevant to our shared humanity, including: homelessness, labor practices, the environment, health and wellness, isolation, social justice and self-love.

She holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College in Port Townsend, WA and is a lifelong Minneapolitan. Recent public art projects have included sculptural installations in the Made Here exhibit in empty storefronts of downtown Minneapolis; a 196-hour mindfulness textile art practice in the Minneapolis Public Libraries; a generosity-based exchange project in her front yard; an interactive place-based mystery game played on bicycles along the Minnehaha Creek Watershed; temporary community structures on a frozen suburban lake with Art Shanty Projects; an annual collective ritual of self-love on Valentine’s Day in a public park; and a participatory mail art performance project at the Northern Spark festival in Minneapolis.


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