HOUSTON, MN, September 3, 2019 – A place can be defined by its geography, name, or property lines, but what really creates a sense of place? Duluth documentarian Nik Nerbum seeks to discover and document what defines our very own Houston County as the final 2019 citizen-artist, for the interdisciplinary Crystal Creek Citizen-Artist Residency (CAIR) program.
Nerburn lives and works in Duluth, Minn., on the far western edge of Lake Superior. He is “guided by the belief that sharing stories can create bridges across great differences.” A collaborator by nature, his process using non-fiction media requires an intimate understanding of a place, only achieved through collaboration, conversation, and deep listening with its residents.
During his residency, Nerbum looks forward to being a conscious observer. The multi-disciplined documentarian will “Observe the romance of the human and natural geography. Decipher the spirit and history of the landscape. Spend intentional time with Houston County residents, across a wide range of social and private spaces.”
“I want to meet farmers, truck drivers, artists, lock and dam operators, fishermen and women, retail workers, quilters, carpenters, computer programmers, thinkers, doers, and makers from all over Houston County. From Reno to Hokah, Eitzen to Black Hammer, down the Root River and back again. As a committed regionalist, senser of place, and deep-listener, I want to spend time with these people and places. The landscape is a library, and I’m a browser,” says Nerburn.
Not only will Nerbum be gathering stories and an understanding of the current fabric of the county, the artist will explore the regional history through archives at the Houston County Historical society in Caledonia as well as genealogy and local history through the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center.
In the past, Nerbum has organized free family picture days, storefront photo shows, live-narrated neighborhood home-movies, marathon polaroid portrait giveaways, and rural outdoor experimental cinema screenings, collaborating with neighborhood organizations, public housing residents, churches, corner stores, families, small businesses, after-school programs, libraries, and museums.
Nerburn will be in Houston County from September 15-21. He is hosting a Meet & Greet and artist talk, sharing his new photography book, The Grand Terrace Photo League, on Tuesday, September 17, at 6 p.m., at KARST (111 E. Cedar, Houston) You’ll have a chance to meet Nik and share a piece of our local story at various “roadside shoptalks” he’ll host around the county, too. Follow our residency on social media at www.facebook.com/crystalcreekcitizenartist for daily updates about where and when he’ll be hanging out. You can share a cup of coffee, a slice of pie, or a beer, and fill him in on some local knowledge of your own. You may even go home with a free photo book! All events are free and open to the public. To help support the Crystal Creek Citizen-Artist Residency program with a donation, please contact residency coordinator Erin Dorbin at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.crystalcreekcitizenartist.com.
About Crystal Creek Citizen-Artist Residency
The Crystal Creek Citizen-Artist Residency invites creative professionals from various disciplines to discover Minnesota’s Driftless region and connect with the people and places of Houston County. The selected Citizen-Artists-in-Residence (CAIRS) will respectively spend seven days producing new works inspired by, and in conversation with the region. CAIRS will also share their skills with the community in a series of hands-on workshops.
About Houston Arts Resource Council
HARC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, established to promote the arts, artists, and artisans of the Houston, Minnesota area.