Premiere at St. Mane Theatre in Lanesboro on Friday, January 27 and Saturday, January 28.
Lanesboro, MN. – For four months in 2016, three Lanesboro area students worked diligently on Lanesboro Arts’ Youth Access Technology Project (YATP), a local history media project of impressive scope and quality. Supported by the Smithsonian Institute’s Stories from Main Street program, the important stories told in the student-created videos will be uploaded to the Smithsonian’s Stories from Main Street website, for the purpose of archiving stories of life in America’s small towns. Grand premiere screenings of the films will take place at the St. Mane Theatre in Lanesboro on Friday, January 27, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 1 p.m. The screenings are free and open to the general public.
Through their films and participation in this project, Mai Gjere, Olivia Obritsch, and Nora Sampson are demonstrating the profound impact of — and immense possibilities created through — including young people in the community decision making process and providing them with a platform to share community narratives. “I have loved seeing their exploration of their environment and community and their growth as citizens, uncovering history and realizing that they are also creators of history and can influence local decision-making,” shared Erin Dorbin, a local historian and documentarian who served as the YATP coordinator.
The films were completed over the course of countless sessions of historical research, interviews with area residents, content editing, and communications and technology training. “We covered everything from interviewing skills to research and editing,” explained Dorbin. “At one point, their assignment was to approach people on Parkway Avenue and ask, ‘When was the last time water made you laugh?’”
Using a blend of contemporary and historical content, each film focuses on a different aspect of the Lanesboro story.
Olivia, 12th grade / recent graduate, home school: Lanesboro’s history 1980-present, during the economic revival of the town from a sleepy setting to its current status a destination for visitors, with the transformation of abandoned railroad tracks into a state trail, the creation of a theater company, and the blossoming of a diverse arts organization, meanwhile bringing newcomers to the community.
Mai, 8th grade / entered 9th in the fall, Lanesboro Public School: Historic downtown, looking at why people settled in Lanesboro originally in the 19th century, and a deeply personal and local perspective on what it takes to sustain a small town in the year 2016. This intimate portrait of community life, economy, Main Street and the future of rural America is uniquely told through the lens of the filmmaker, her peers, local business owners, and the town’s decision makers.
Nora, 8th grade / entered 9th in the fall, Lanesboro Public School: Agriculture and century farms, specifically following generations of one family, and looking at the impact of family farms and what happened to change small family farming into bigger commercial farms. Also taking a closer look at what’s happening with farming right now and the challenges and opportunities they’ll face in the future.
The Youth Access Technology Project was made possible by a $9,250 grant awarded to Lanesboro Arts in December 2015 by the Smithsonian Institution. Lanesboro Arts is one of six sites in the nation to receive this grant in 2016. The YATP is a stand alone project, but an extension to the Water/Ways Smithsonian Institution exhibition and events that are taking place in Lanesboro January 7 – February 19, 2017.
The screenings are presented by Lanesboro Arts and sponsored by Inspire(d) Media, Commonweal Theatre, and Walter Bradley of Thrivent Financial. There is no cost for admission, but advance registration is encouraged. Patrons can register via www.lanesboroarts.org; at Lanesboro Arts Gallery, (507) 467-2446; and at the St. Mane Theatre box office beginning one hour prior to the screenings. The St. Mane Theatre is located at 206 Parkway Ave N. in Lanesboro, Minn. For more than thirty years, Lanesboro Arts has been working to fulfill its mission of serving as a regional catalyst for artistic excellence and educational development in providing diverse art experiences for people of all ages.