By: Natalie Keane, Sprout MN
Since the Summer of 2019, local Little Falls multi-media artist, Heidi Jeub, has been engaging with food producers, distributors, farmers, and the community they serve, to inform and inspire a large-scale mural.
Heidi, who is a painter, book binder, and public artist, uses a combination of research and intuition to gather inspiration. "I approach a piece, not concerned with how it will look, but how I will get there." In previous work with communities, the resulting public art installations have been informed by community discussions, sharing of historic images or documents, and one-on-one interviews. "This process has helped ensure that the end product is a part of the community, serving emotional and aesthetic joy and reflection," says Heidi.
After spending years engaging through the school system as a teaching artist, Heidi began working with community-based public art projects. Her sincere interest in untold histories of her community led her to the Sartell Paper Mill Project. This experience informed her process in designing and implementing projects that are large in scale and impact. Other public art projects that she created includes the "Trunks" Bench-in-the-Round at the Little Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Caterpillar Bike Rack Project (in conjunction with a design-thinking residency) at the Boys & Girls Club of Little Falls.
Heidi Jeub, painter and public artist, makes progress on Stories Around Food, a painting inspired by conversations with folks in Little Falls, Minnesota.
For this new mural project titled "Stories Around Food," Heidi engaged with a variety of local food stakeholders including producers, nonprofit organizations, food distributors (cooperatives, restaurants, grocers), and a community of eaters. The hope was to seek out any thematic trends to inspire the mural, but also to harvest the community’s attitude around food preparation and preservation, food insecurity, and local agriculture.
To initiate conversations and collect stories, Heidi leaned on her curiosity of food culture. "Food is part of our everyday life, and is essential to all people," says Heidi. "I have found that exploring the complexities of food from production to consumption has very organically brought up social issues around food, including food insecurity, sustainable farming, and healthy living." The end result of the mural aims to reflect the stories shared throughout the process.
While the final product of this project is a new, original mural inspired by conversations about food, the act of sharing stories about food is an age-old tradition. The finished mural is now on view at Sprout MN in Little Falls, Minnesota to continue to promote storytelling in their food hub, shared-use kitchen, marketplace, and event space.
Stories Around Food is led by Heidi Jeub and is a partnership with Sprout MN, funded in part by Five Wings Arts Council and ArtPlace America’s National Creative Placemaking Fund, awarded to Region Five Development Commission.
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