Letter from Suzi Hudson, Executive Director
This fall represents one of our most exciting seasons to date, marked with outstanding new and returning classes, along with a very special exhibition titled Sieng Lee: Becoming American in the Ford Family Gallery, opening September 11th. Lee will be installing site-specific work never before seen, along with pieces from his Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist exhibition. In 2015, Lee served as the Lead Exhibit Designer for the landmark show “We Are Hmong” at Minnesota History Center. Sieng Lee’s art reflects his personal experience that spans living in a refugee camp in Thailand as a child, to growing up in the United States, straddling his family’s traditional Hmong culture often at odds with his immersion in mainstream American culture. His work examines the tension between becoming American vs. being born American, as well as the ever changing flow of displaced people around the world. Lee’s imagery blends time like a river, and is filled with elegant beauty, vulnerability, honesty, humor, and most of all; tenderness of the human heart. Please join us on September 14th for the opening reception and the opportunity to meet Sieng Lee.
Just around the corner is a milestone year (2018) as White Bear Center for the Arts (WBCA) prepares to mark its 50th anniversary. I hope you will start collecting your photos and stories to share memories as we will honor WBCA’s past. I also hope you will challenge yourself to try something new here, as a way of celebrating WBCA’s present. Most importantly, I hope you will help WBCA grow by inviting others to join us as we set our sights on the next 50 years. On the Swedish side of my family it is tradition to be presented with a cane on one’s 50th birthday. When I turned 50, my mom gave me the cane her mother had given her on her 50th. However, this was not your ordinary “elder’s” cane. My grandmother, over the years, had brightly decorated it with words such as “Wow!” and “Dynamite!” and even “Groovy!” While lighthearted, my grandma’s words were meant to challenge the old world view of aging and decline. She chose to view aging as a time of increased creativity, vibrancy, and well, yes, fun. And while my grandmother is gone, her cane reminds me of the importance of intention and the urgency of time. With that in mind, I believe the following line from WBCA’s statement of diversity and inclusion are great words of inspiration as together we lean into each other and the next 50 years:
WBCA stands behind the importance of long-term sustainable relationships built on genuine respect for the creative, social and cultural spirit of each individual. Thank you all for being the heart of your art center.