Hearing Your Own Pulse

Last night I spent a lot of time on http://www.racart.org/ ,
Rural America Contemporary Art online magazine,
gallery and blog. I have been following RACA since its
beginning. It was born in Mankato, Minnesota just last
fall and has gained great ground in a short time with the
simple tagline "making nowhere into somewhere" and
highlighting quality art and writing rooted in rural
America. This is all so encouraging to me and many
other artists that live and work in rural settings. With
online connections at our fingertips and fields and
woods in our front and backyards, has there ever been
 a better time to be rural?
RACA inspired me to write this bio:
I am a rural artist. I grew up on a sheep farm in North-
Central Minnesota, left rural life for ten years and
returned fifteen years ago when my suburban boyfriend
(now husband) proposed and then shocked me by
wanting to live in the middle of nowhere Minnesota,
yet in the center of everything I truly need.

I teach art to brilliant middle and high schoolers in a

small school, about 40 students per grade level. I am
a mom to two creative young girls, and that suburban
boy has transformed into quite a renaissance man. I
make art in the back of my classroom, in our century-
old farmhouse kitchen, outside in the summer, and
sometimes in the winter, when suffering from light
deprivation, I drag my work into the woods, suspend it
from trees and document how the elements deteriorate
it, as I slowly come back to life.
What many urban and suburbanites might not
understand is that despite my complaints of Target
being over 50 miles away or my embarrassment over
our perpetually dirt-road-crusted car, we really did
choose this rural life. We are not stuck here, peering
into the glass ball and wishing to be hip urban artists,
although we love to visit our urban friends. We choose
this life of being less particular about some things,
and more patient about others.

Having once belonged to an artists' cooperative in
Chelsea, Manhattan and flying to New York a couple
times a year, I had my ear on the pulse of the art world.
It was a great experience, but when I stepped away
from that artist cooperative six years ago, I began to
more clearly hear my own pulse and voice. Perhaps it
comes with age no matter where you are, but truly
listening to my own pulse means that I am no longer 
drowning it out with the static of constantly seeking far-
away muses. I know what I am missing out on, and it
can wait so that I don’t have to miss out on nearby
subtleties--the everyday, heart-twinging beauty that
quietly begs to be heard.

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