A series of engagement and outreach events in the Lanesboro area the week of January 15, 2018
Ben Weaver is a songwriter, musician, poet, letterpress printer, and adventure advocate whose experiences touring long distances by bicycle provide a unique starting point for connecting Lanesboro area residents with natural spaces, finding ways to give back through outreach with seniors and students, and build community through storytelling workshops and exchanges that help awaken greater reciprocity between people and the land. His special blend of poetic advocacy, humble demeanor and talent as a communicator inspired and energized the people of Lanesboro during his residency here January 15 – 20, 2018 as part of the Performing Artist Engagement Program.
For Ben, an artist is a person who believes in the impossible. They are the representatives of awe, the kinds of people who set off into the storm with no matches. Artists are the ones who lay down on the ground and wrestle with the wolves, metaphorically and sometimes literally. Artists keep the truth of a spirit breathing, constantly in pursuit of an energy, a source, a language larger than the sum of our petty concerns. For Ben, it’s about reciprocity, a way of listening and sharing, observing and making for more than oneself. The artist makes visible for a moment the potential of the human spirit for those who may not otherwise be able to see it.
As an artist that has traveled by bicycle around Lake Michigan and the length of the Mississippi River, Ben Weaver is exceptionally motivated to take risks as a community builder by putting himself into new and different situations for authentic community engagement that draws upon his experiences in order to bring new perspectives and a renewed sense of energy and urgency to the work and lives of Lanesboro area community members.
- Ben will visit the classroom of Stena Lieb, Art Teacher at Lanesboro Public Schools on Tuesday, January 16th to help lead printmaking and other artmaking projects while sharing his experience with students as a full-time working artist.
- Ben is planning to play, walk, and talk at P.L.A.Y.Y., the inter-generational playgroup uniting the young and young-at-heart at the Lanesboro Community Center on Wednesday, January 17th from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
- Lanesboro Museum Director Sandy Webb will be joining Ben for a Story Circle and Discussion at the Kenilworth Apartments in Lanesboro on Thursday, January 18th at 12:30 p.m. following SEMCAC Senior Dining.
- Ben will be participating in a public Women’s Poetry and Storytelling Circle at the High Court Loft on Thursday, January 18th at 6:30 p.m.
- The regular Open Mic at High Court Pub is taking place on Thursday, January 18th and Ben is planning to share some music and stories there.
- Sandy Webb and Ben will join residents at Sylvan Manor for a Story Circle and Discussion during card playing at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, January 19th.
- Ben will lead an Outdoor Trail Walk at 4 p.m. on Friday, January 19th. The group will be at the Lanesboro Museum. Hot Chocolate will be provided!
- Ben will be joined on stage with Mike Munson for a capstone performance at the St. Mane Theatre on Saturday, January 20th at 7:30 p.m. during a concert with Charlie Parr.
From Ben Weaver:
How can Lanesboro share its community story in a way that helps set an example for other communities within the state and region? The story about how a small community is thriving without chain stores, destructive farming practices or other large-scale economic drivers that tend to oppress and depress other rural towns. When the argument is that these massive drivers bring jobs, yet leave people tired and devoid of life energy, Lanesboro is thriving with family farms, small business, outdoor recreation and arts & culture. If part of Lanesboro’s economy, what sustains it, is based in tourism, how can the community use that consumption as a tool to expand and spread the message of its story and approach even further and louder?
If someone comes to Lanesboro and says “It’s such a beautiful place and it’s so magical”… how can we help them articulate what it is that actually makes it magical? Perhaps they are taking something away that represents this? What are those things that might already be doing or offering that? How could those things be expanded on, supported or refined in order to help communicate to others that may not have visited Lanesboro, the value of having good food, clean water and strong creative presence? These are a few of the things that make a place feel magical and unique; and how a place’s residents can thrive when they are building an economy that affirms life and further connects us to each other.
How can there be continued effort and improvement when it comes to bringing others into dialogue about the community? How can art and creativity be used to dismantle duality and bring people together, facing potential conflicts without seeing differences as threatening?
The Performing Artist Engagement Program is made possible by a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.