Friday, November 21, 2014

Perpich alumna wins Emerging Leader Award

Shanai Matteson (00, literary) will be receiving, along with Colin Kloecker, her husband and co-collaborative director of Works Progress Studio, the Emerging Leader Award from the St. Paul Riverfront Corporation and Mississippi River Fund.

The award will be presented at the 2014 River Stewards Luncheon, 11:30 a.m., Dec. 4, at the James J. Hill Center in St. Paul.
Tickets to the event are $35. The event proceeds go to support a graduate student internship in partnership with the College of Design, University of Minnesota. Matteson points out that she and Kloecker, when presented with the award at the event, will be invited to say a few words “and you don’t want to miss that because we could say anything! Suspense.”
Matteson and Kloecker have developed several projects that promote awareness of water and the Mississippi River especially. They started Water Bar earlier this year as an “open space for the generation of conversations and connections around the life-sustaining, precarious, communal activity of drinking tap water.” 
It is an “itinerant” physical bar that can be installed in any setting (it will be at the luncheon) and is equipped with tap water drawn from numerous sources in the vicinity. The “water bar tenders” are people with backgrounds in environmental management, policy, design, law, biology, business and communications. As they serve water, they ask questions of the drinkers, introduce information and help to create educational exchanges with visitors to the bar.
Another current project is Dear River, a multimedia storytelling project with an interactive website, short documentary videos and place-based events and exhibitions where river stories and sentiments about the Mississippi River are gathered and shared.
Matteson describes herself as a “writer, artist and arts organizer who leads and supports collaborative public art and design projects.” She is artistic director of public art for St. Paul’s City Art Collaboratory, a fellowship program for artists and scientists working with and on the Mississippi River and other ecologically focused public art and engagement projects. In 2013, she won a Bush Fellowship to pursue her work. 
Works Progress Studio is an artist-led business that “engages an expansive network of artists, designers, organizers, researchers, advocates and other creative people to realize imaginative public art and design projects rooted in place and purpose.”
To find out more about the Water Bar and Works Progress, read here.

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