Healing Place
Fundraiser for Springboard for the Arts

Mona raising money for Springboard for the Arts

Healing Place gathers partners for conversation, work, play and public events about healing and place.

Any society is a relationship between people and place. The health of that relationship has an enormous impact on the health of a community.

The Healing Place Collaborative invites you to join a partnership that places the river at the center of a healthy sustainable future.  Your interest – and your financial support – are needed now.

People have had many relationships to the River over the centuries. Site of Dakota genesis, birthing and genocide; highway for trade and migration; power source; recreational area – the Mississippi at its confluence with the Minnesota River is now the highly-engineered nexus of a complex society.

That complexity creates problems. The issues that our community faces are approached in isolation from one another, and people working diligently on solutions operate with distinct agendas, budgets, and disciplines. Similarly, competing environmental, commercial, and cultural interests affect the health of the River negatively.

Both the River and the society it has engendered need healing. The Healing Place Collaborative is grounding its approach to repairing community, River and relationship in the Dakota concept of “bdote.” This word means a confluence of waters (in this case, the Mississippi and Minnesota) but also confluence in general. We intend to encourage a confluence of interests among people who recognize that the River is important to creating a healthy community, and that a community-wide effort is needed to heal our River.

The Healing Place Collaborative will use a process called “deep mapping, an artistic, cross-disciplinary exploration of places of trauma. It typically includes artists, scientists, archeologists – people from disparate fields who examine human relations to particular places, and share their work in public events. The approach has led to powerful projects throughout the world, resulting in “maps” that are not cartography, but repositories of resources shared across disciplines and presented to the general public. (Healing Place co-founder Mona Smith is a member of Mapping Spectral Traces International Network, a group of deep-mapping professionals.)

Key activities include:

·      Enlistment of new Collaborative members. We have forged a core group  who are committed to meeting regularly, and another larger number of “participating” members, individuals and organizations, who will engage in large-group events and a culminating event. The “deep mapping” project of the Collaborative will consist of work undertaken by members separately, as well as work undertaken cooperatively or collaboratively. All members must commit to presenting their work at regular intervals to other members and to the general public.

·      Monthly meetings of Core members, to guide all phases of the project.

·      At least two gatherings of all members to share work and get to know one another. These gatherings offer the promise of exciting interchanges that will change the outlook and operations of participants.

·      At least one Collaborative-directed large public festival culminating in a (separately-funded) media/dance installation. This festival is the “map” – a one- or two-day event in which the general public is invited to learn about River-focused projects that affect their lives from many directions. The event will be a mélange of scientific papers, poetry readings, language demonstrations, grade school and high school projects across the curriculum, canoe and boating experiences – a demonstration of the breadth of the River’s impact on community life, and a call for action in promoting the health of the River. Award-winning artists Mona Smith of Allies: media/art and Emily Johnson of Catalyst Dance are creating a collaborative performance installation that incorporates Dakota voices, multimedia, and choreography that engages professional and traditional community member dancers. Their performance/installation will close the festival.

·      Member-directed activities offered under the umbrella of Healing Place include, the John Sawyer Fellowship of River Life at the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Advanced Studies will offer a public panel of academics as part of their ongoing mission, acknowledging their connection to the Healing Place Collaborative. An outside of school education program intends to gather young alumni of their River Watchers project so that young participants can see how the information they have gathered has changed over years, under the auspices of Healing Place.  Their information on the bio-status of the river will be shared at the public festival.

The activities are designed to 

a) promote communication among members; 

b) foster cooperation and collaboration

c) present member projects to the public

d) balance “cross-pollination” with independence among organizations that are leaders in their separate fields.

Healing Place requires your help to support the infrastructure of the work. Coordination, writing, communications, partner meetings, selection of new core and participating partners all require financial support.  Healing Place can be YOUR project, too.  Donate, participate, learn more!

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