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Traveling Museum is a USDAC Affiliate

The Traveling Museum is proud to be a USDAC Affiliate.

“The US. Department of Arts and Culture is a people-powered department – a grassroots action network inciting creativity and social imagination to shape culture of empathy, equity, and belonging”
To learn more about the important work USDAC  and affiliated artists and arts organization are doing visit the USDAC website.









Traveling Museum is pleased to partner with Coffee House Press and Silverwood Park for a 2016 winter residency project.

With inspiration from the Danish concept of “Hygge”, the Traveling Museum will be on site at Silverwood Park from February 2 – Mid March. The Museum will serve as a winter writer’s retreat for artist/writer Steven Lang

hygeeSteven Lang, a writer and visual artist, has been selected as the Silverwood Park’s first artist in residence. Lang will spend time during the month of February inside The Traveling Museum which has been transformed into a writer’s den — a sort of “Walden” on the ice. Inside the cabin and throughout the park, Lang will draw on themes of winter, winter recreation, time, solitude, and hibernation, to expand both his fiction writing and photography portfolio.

In recent years, Lang has been an artist in residence at Elsewhere in Greensboro, NC, and a recipient of the Loft’s mentor program award. He is a staff member at Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

On March 16th at 7:00pm, Lang will share photos and stories from his time in residence. He will then be joined by Silverwood Park and Coffee House Press staff members for a conversation on arts and the environment. This event is free and open to the public.

You can view dispatches from the residency during the month of February at chpin

The Traveling Museum Honored by Public Art Network Year in Review

americansarts-320x210Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, honored 31 outstanding public arts projects created in 2014 through the Public Art Network (PAN) Year in Review program, the only national program that specifically recognizes the most compelling public art. The works were chosen from more than 300 entries across the country and recognized at Americans for the Arts’ 2015 Annual Convention in Chicago.

The Rural Aesthetic Initiative team is humbled to have The Traveling Museum included on this national list of compelling and innovative public art projects. The 31 public art works selected for the PAN Year in Review can be seen here.

“The best of public art can challenge, delight, educate and illuminate. Most of all, public art creates a sense of civic vitality in the cities, towns, and communities we inhabit and visit,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “As these Public Art Network Year in Review selections illustrate, public art has the power to enhance our lives on a scale that little else can. I congratulate the artists and commissioning groups for these community treasures, and I look forward to honoring more great works in the years to come.”

The 2015 PAN Year in Review jurors were Peggy Kendellen, Public Art Manager, Regional Arts & Culture Council in Portland, Oregon; Laurie Jo Reynolds, Assistant Professor of Public Arts, Social Justice and Culture at the School of Art and Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago; and Ernest C. Wong, Principal, site design group, ltd in Chicago.

The Public Art Network (PAN), a program of Americans for the Arts, is designed to provide services to the diverse field of public art and to develop strategies and tools to improve communities through public art. The network’s constituents are public art professionals, visual artists, design professionals, and communities and organizations planning public art projects and programs.

CLICK HERE for images of past Traveling Museum projects

CLICK HERE to learn how you can work with The Traveling Museum

The Traveling Museum Annual Report

  • 5,997 miles driven
  • 11 events
  • 17 Minnesota Artists
  • 8 Communities
  • 50 cups of gas station coffee
  • 0 flat tires
  • 25 fish


As we collect our receipts and come off the lake from our winter residency, we thought it is a good time to thank all those who made this adventure possible.

We would like to recognize and thank all those who have been a part of this incredible journey

2014/15  Artist Roster: Michele Anderson, Lisa Bergh, Mary Bergs, Miranda Brandon, Michael Eble, Brian Frink, David Hamlow, Michelle Johnson, Liz Miller. Andrew Nordin, Dan Olson, David Ruhlman, Todd Shanafelt, Naomi Schliesman, Karl Unnasch, Michon Weeks, and Jonathan Gomez Whitney

Program Partners: Art-A-Whirl, Art in Odd Places Indy, Becker Market, Big Car Collaborative, Forecast Public Art, Beth Peloff and Green Jeans Media, RACA- Rural America Contemporary Art, Silverwood Park, Southwest Minnesota Arts Council, The Space Station, Spring Board for the Arts Fergus Falls, and the Willmar Public Library

Generous financial support from Art in Odd Places Indy, Forecast Public Art, The McKnight Foundation, Southwest Minnesota Arts Council, and Tebben Enterprises

Finally, a special thanks to the many friends & colleagues who offered support and guidance in so many ways; from advocates for our work, cheerleaders when we were feeling overwhelmed, and great unpaid baby sitters that allowed us to travel:

Melinda Childs, Nicole DeBoer, Pete Driessen, Michael Eble, Matthew Fluharty, Brian Frink, Gregory Harp, John Hock, Home Depot contractor desk, Heidi Jeub, Laura Migliorina, Dan Mondloch, Greta Murray, Paul and Marion Nordin, Naomi Schliesman, Scott Stulen, every one who came to an event in their community, and to the countless friends and supporters we have met on the road!

See you on the road!


Gris Gris Gumbo Ya Ya

 2/6/15     from 4 – 6pm    On Green Lake in Spicer, MN

Homemade Gumbo and Paintings by Michael Eble 

Gris Gris Gumbo Ya Ya Is a combination of terms from an older song by the famous New Orleans musician, Dr. John. The song lyrics references Michael Eble’s own New Orleans upbringing and fittingly describes a one day/night art exhibition and social engagement project at the Traveling Museum. Visitors have the opportunity to view some of Eble’s paintings but also share a bowl Gumbo specially prepared by the artist.

Gumbo refers Gumbo is a dish that originated in southern Louisiana from the Louisiana Creole people during the 18th century. It typically consists primarily of a strongly flavored stock, okra, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and seasoning vegetables, which can include celery, bell peppers, garlic and onions. Gumbo is often categorized by the type of thickener used: the African vegetable okra, the Choctaw spice file powder (dried and ground sassafras leaves), or roux, the French base made of flour and fat. The dish likely derived its name from either the Bantu word for okra (ki ngombo) or the Choctaw word for filé (kombo).

The setting of exhibition also draws parallels with the content of the work. The layering of ice that exists below the Traveling Museum references the striations in the paintings. Additionally the idea that water from Green Lake eventually flows into the Crow river, which eventually connects to the Mississippi, and eventually flows past New Orleans, emphasizes the power of water to connect regions, cultures and people.

Find the Museum on Green Lake in front of Saulsbury Beach in Spicer, MN. You may park in the public lot adjacent to the beach and take the short walk onto the ice out to the Museum. 

Stayed tuned to Twitter and Facbook for  the exact GPS coordinates.

The ice is thick, no worries!

Vibrating Boundries #4 by Michael Eble
Vibrating Boundries #4 by Michael Eble

Michael Eble was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He received a BFA degree in painting from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a MFA degree in painting and drawing from the University of Mississippi, in Oxford, Mississippi. He is currently an Associate Professor of Studio Art and Curator of the Humanities Fine Arts Gallery at the University of Minnesota, Morris. He has shown his paintings and works on paper in numerous regional and national solo and group exhibitions, most recently in Louisiana, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

Eble has been a recipient of several Imagine Fund awards and Grant in Aid awards from the University of Minnesota, along with a Residential Fellowship in 2008 from the Institute for Advance Study. He has also received additional grants and research funding from the McKnight Foundation, Lake Region Arts Council, Vermont Studio Center, Science Museum of Minnesota, and the New York Mills regional cultural center.

Michael continues to produce artwork that focuses on the element of water and its relationship to humans and the environment.

Traveling Museum > Art In Odd Places Indianapolis


The Traveling Museum is pleased to be included in the first ever installment of Art in Odd Places in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. This live festival of creative works will take place along Market Street from the City Market up to and including Monument Circle. Local and national artists have been invited to create accessible and interactive works that draw upon this year’s AiOP theme of FREE. The festival includes music, sound, dance, performance, site-specific installations, video projections, painting, sculpture, and more.

For our part of the festival we will be Presenting SPACE COWBOY: an exhibition that honors the spirit of adventure and exploration featuring Karl Unnasch, Michon Weeks, and Jonathan Gomez Whitney. The Uncanny meets the nostalgic in a display of three Minnesota artists who each use distinct strategies to investigate the banal and raise it to the sacred, fetishizing the discarded, and provoking new frontiers by making the ordinary wondrous.

Ride along on our roadtrip via twitter


The Traveling Museum is coming to Field Trip!

Join us at Silverwood Park in Saint Anthony, Minnesota on September 20th.

Crafty Planet, and Silverwood Park are teaming up for Field Trip! a day of art making, music, creative play and an outdoor art fair.  For this year’s event the staff at Silverwood Park are serving as guest curators for The Traveling Museum.

Silverwood Park Art Educator and Exhibition Coordinator, Eileen Cohen, and her team will be presenting: IMPACT Birds Navigating Glass in Built Space – a project by Miranda Brandon

Impact (Nashvile Warbler) by Miranda Brandon
Impact (Nashvile Warbler) by Miranda Brandon

Come spend time with the birds, in this case detailed images of the victims of glass collisions. Learn about why our feathered friends are important and about what difficulties they face when they brave their yearly migratory trek and what simple things you can do to help them out. Also, you can screenprint a shirt or print showing your support for the birds using a similar method to how bird-safe glass is made! (A limited number of shirts will be available – but you’re welcome to bring your own to print on!)
Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 4.14.10 PMMiranda Brandon was born and raised in Oklahoma, moved to Minneapolis in 1999 to study photography at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and has recently completed her Master of Fine Arts work at the University of Minnesota. Her work focuses on the shared relations and spaces between human and non-human species, specifically birds in her two most recent bodies of work.  Her love for birds grew out of time spent volunteering in the avian nursery at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, where she helped care for sick, injured, and orphaned birds.  Later volunteering for the local Audubon, monitoring for bird fatalities due to window collisions, she began her project Impact highlighting the consequences of how spaces are constructed. Miranda continues to volunteer for the Audubon and also for The Raptor Center, rehabilitating flight strength in raptors prior to release, and has been collaborating with the Audubon on the Vikings stadium glass issue.

Field Trip! Saturday, September 20, 11 am – 5 pm at Silverwood Park in St. Anthony, MN

Deep Space After Thoughts by Michele Anderson

This July the Traveling Museum had the pleasure of working with an outstanding team of artists in Fergus Falls, MN for the launch of our Artist Residency Pilot Program.  The week long collaborative residency exceeded all expectations and included musicians Michele Anderson and Dan Olson along with visual artist Naomi Schliesman. We look forward to the continued expansion of the Traveling Museum Residency Program in 2015.  A special thank you to Michele Anderson for sharing her thoughts on the experience.


Deep Space after thoughts.   Michele Anderson                                                        

The day that Naomi Schliesman asked me to collaborate with her and Dan Olson on a sound/art installation for the Traveling Museum, I was complaining, no—whining to her, teary eyed, about how hard of a time I was having connecting with my musical identity while balancing my professional life as an arts administrator and community organizer.

But when she said, “Well, why don’t you do this Traveling Museum project with us,” I did a 180. I was terrified beyond words at the thought of sharing my music with my community, which had really never experienced it since I moved here three years ago. So, I tried to get out of it and to retreat back into my comfortable world behind my office desk. She didn’t let me, though. She is awesome like that.

Music has always been part of my identity. My body. My way of expressing myself when I really struggled to find words, or when my voice wouldn’t even work, especially throughout my childhood. In college, I spent more hours in the practice room than anywhere else, memorizing Berg’s piano sonata, analyzing twelve-tone music, and composing a one-man operetta called “The End of the World is a Love Story.”

Outside of the academic world, and especially in a rural town, it’s incredibly hard to find context for classical piano and new music. Sure, I could give a recital here, but I would have to find time to practice for at least six months first, and then people would sit there in silence and stare at me and expect so much of me – what if I f%&* up after all these years and just couldn’t perform anymore? And yes, okay, I can go to the Fergus Falls Space Station any night and “jam” with my pals, who are amazing rock musicians, but it’s just still not the same and I tend to gravitate more towards the tambourine than the piano, cause after all that training no one really ever taught me to “jam.”

I know for a fact that I’m not the only person out who makes excuses like these not to create, or who struggles to find context for their creative work while maintaining leadership roles (not to mention things that I don’t yet relate to, like raising a family). This is why I am so excited that the Traveling Museum exists and that I got to experience firsthand how it will impact artists as it travels around the country. They and their communities are in for a truly unique experience of creating and participating in art.

For the week that we hosted the Traveling Museum in Fergus Falls, collaborating with Dan and Naomi helped me to dig through layers of sediment that had piled up through the years of my musical rut, and start to see my experiences throughout all of that silence more as a tool than as a barrier. The intentional limited time (one week) and space (9’ x 6’) of this artist residency experience also took the pressure off of creating something that was “Worth It” for an audience to see, but instead something quite more special – a quick, invigorating splash in the deep and unknown waters of our creativity, and an invitation for others to jump in if they wished.

The incentive to collaborate with Naomi and Dan made for clarifying lessons about the unique ways we express ourselves, rather than how we should show off our talents. While Naomi sat in the front room extracting teeth from a deer skull, glue-gunning felted objects to a turtle shell, and installing metallic material around every surface of the inside of the museum, Dan and I worked in the sound booth, tinkering with three song ideas that were an answer to Naomi’s concept for her rendition of the museum: “Deep Space.” It turned out that my classical/folk background and Dan’s glam-rock approach were the ideal combination to create a soundscape for the ethereal and the archeological objects that Naomi was creating just yards away from us.

But the best part was that we didn’t allow ourselves to focus on perfection. Dan and I attempted to record each track on its first take, because the two of us also had a ridiculous amount of responsibilities that week (Dan has a one-year old son and was in the process of moving to a new apartment). The rawness of the recordings is something that sweetly reminds me of the relationships that are necessary to make great art and music. As we became more comfortable with this intentional imperfection, we invited several other Space Station “regulars” to add vocal tracks as they came in, a process which resulted in some moments with friends and strangers that I will never forget.

The night that the museum opened, the Space Station hosted a studio performance of the band Air is Air, which drew a large, younger crowd. As the sun set and people stood outside socializing, they had the chance to step into this installation and reported experiences ranging from meditative, to disturbed, to confused, to inspired. The museums’ fleeting presence created a sense of lightness for me as an artist, and I relaxed away from my usual desire to hyper-communicate “the process,” and “the intention,” and instead enjoyed having people I knew talk to me about what they thought even if they didn’t know it was my voice or my music coming out of the speakers.

Did I mention that Fergus Falls is a pretty small town, and that Dan, Naomi and I also happen to make up the entire staff at Springboard for the Arts’s office here? Let’s just say that didn’t matter in this context. We really wanted this to be about our connections with one another as artists, rather than as colleagues. That said, I would highly recommend the Traveling Museum as a unique non-cheesy team-building retreat for other arts organizations – the three of us have a new understanding of one another and I’ve noticed that we’ve been laughing a lot more in our office lately. Which can only be good for the artists we work with, right? And hey, I already have two new music gigs lined up as a result of people in the community learning that I can do this stuff too. So I think I can call myself a musician again. That feels pretty darn great.

Deep Space artists: Michele Anderson, Dan Olson and Naomi Schliesman inside Deep Space with visitors
Michele Anderson, Dan Olson and Naomi Schliesman with visitors inside the Deep Space installation

Michele Anderson lives and works in Fergus Falls, MN where she is the Rural Program Director at Springboard for the Arts AND a musician.

For more photos from the public event visit our IMAGE GALLERY