2017 Season Bayfield County Journal Article

WASHBURN – “Beyond Words,” a project involving kids, art, culture and environmental awareness in the Lake Superior region, returns for a second year with a series of all-new, place-based workshops.

Janet Moore, a watercolorist and teacher, continues as project director with round two of “Beyond Words,” a program funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) “Imagine Your Parks.” Moore wrote and was awarded this grant in 2016 to support 25 Bad River youth, Tribal Youth Media (TYM), and non-tribal members in a series of workshops in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (AINL) and the greater Lake Superior watershed. The program culminates in November with an art exhibit at the Washburn Cultural Center featuring works by the participants and a short video documenting the project.

“One of the overlying goals of ‘Beyond Words’ is to develop a level of new understanding between cultures – people from different ages and different walks of life,” said Moore on April 4 who added that in 2016 there were over two-dozen participants, including kids from Bad River, Red Cliff and Ashland, as well as some adults, such as former Senator Bob Jauch.

Another goal of the project is to inspire artists to create work that communicates the beauty of Bad River, the Apostle Islands, and the Chequamegon Bay area. Similar to last year, Moore has invited several guest artists and speakers to inspire students. These include artists Biskakone Greg Johnson, Jeff Rennicke, Diane Canfield Bywaters, Terry Daulton, Moore, and Paulette Moore; speakers include Joe Rose, Tim Fitz and Edith Leoso. The artist instructors will share tips on how to make art from their unique perspectives while the guest speakers provide a context for this art by highlighting the culture, history, and ecology of the area. New this year, students will be able to earn high school credit.

The first two gatherings take place indoors at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center (NGLVC) starting with an organizational meeting on April 23. The focus for this workshop is on how to effectively capture the story of culture and place. The guest artist/speaker is award-winning filmmaker Paulette Moore who’ll talk about telling a story from the indigenous perspective. The other Moore, the watercolorist, will demonstrate working methods for gathering and using field sketches as well as photos to inspire a finished piece of work.

The second workshop is on May 7 at NGLVC with Johnson, a member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

“As an instructor of Native Arts it is my mission to share my knowledge without being condescending,” he said. “I wanted to make the knowledge more accessible for my students. I was one of those ‘starving artists’ once and I learned how to provide for my people using my talents.”

His talents include creating art from natural materials, such as birch bark and cedar.

The first field trip takes place on June 9 to Copper Falls State Park with two guides: Rose, a Bad River elder and longtime educator, and Fitz, a Northland College geology professor. Students will observe where Bad River and Tyler Forks collide; they’ll follow the journey water makes on its way to Lake Superior; and they’ll learn about the unique geology, ecology, and cultural importance of Copper Falls. In addition, Paulette Moore and some of her Northland College filmmaking students will capture this part of the story on film.

To give students an overview of the area, on June 19 participants will take a grand tour of the Apostle Islands by cruise boat.

“I took a job at the end of the season on the cruise service,” Project Director Moore said. “I was out there on the water all day long. It was the best thing I could have done to help me understand this place. I’m new here. It’s been two years that I’ve lived up here full-time. Getting out there and seeing 21 of those Apostles three times a day in different light was amazing. I was an artist disguised as a deckhand doing visual research.”

On June 29 Leoso, Bad River’s Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, will lead a trip to Madeline Island, where she’ll introduce a different way of viewing the island from the Native perspective. She will also lead a trip to Bad River and Kakagon Sloughs on Aug. 18, the last field trip for the project. Following this adventure participants will have until November to complete a final piece for the show.

One lesson learned from last year, Moore said, is to not be so focused on creating finished artwork in the field.

“It’s more about absorbing and really taking everything in, rather than producing something in a workshop. It’s more important to gain knowledge and experience the place first,” she said.

Moore is currently teaching art at Washburn High School for a semester, filling in for Kristin Tetzner, who had a baby on March 20. Yes, Moore raised her own two kids, earned a B.A. in art and environmental studies at UW–Madison and a M.A. in environmental education at UW-Stevens Point where she conducted a research project drawing trees with over 400 kids. Plus she led many students in “Beyond Words” in 2016. But nothing prepared her for the everyday contact with young people she’s having now.

“It’s really great to have the experience of working with students throughout a whole quarter in one place with specific projects. I’m really getting my feet wet,” she said.

Wet is the way Moore likes it. Water is at the heart of everything she paints these days: birch trees hugging the Lake Superior shoreline, waves lapping on whatever Apostle Island she happens to be visiting.

“Water is essential to life,” she said.

When distilled down to its essence “Beyond Words” is about water too, about observing and respecting Lake Superior in all of her nuances.

“When you’re painting plants, orchids, or trees, it’s static. It’s living, but it’s not moving and changing like lake, water and sky. One of the things up here is when you’re working outside and interacting with the landscape you start seeing it in a whole new way,” Moore said. “It makes you slow down. You start seeing little shapes in the birch trees; you see eyes everywhere. The world becomes more of an animated place when you look closely.”

When Moore first dreamed up the idea for “Beyond Words” she approached Mike Wiggins, the Bad River Tribal Chairman at the time. He told her, “Old Indians and artists see the world the same way.” That way means seeing nature in a more holistic way, as a living being with a mind of its own yet forever offering gifts of wisdom, renewal and nourishment.

To find out more about Beyond Words and/or to sign up for the program go to: http://www.beyondwordsproject.org/.


Reception and Artist Talk at Bates Art Bar

We are Having a Reception and Artist talk for our upcoming project this coming Friday evening at Bates Art Bar in Bayfield...stop by and meet some of the guest artists and participants!

Join Project Director Janet Moore and artists Jeff Rennicke and Diane Canfield Bywaters for an informal presentation about this Summer 2016 NEA Imagine Your Parks project.

Bayfield County Journal Article

A very nice article by Hope McLeod came out in the Bayfield County Journal about our project and my background/artwork today. Such a very gifted writer to weave so many elements together. Thank you!

BAYFIELD– Pen, brush or camera in hand — what better way to celebrate the beauty of the northland than to create art on the banks of Bad River or the shores of Lake Superior?

Janet Moore, a professional watercolorist/journal writer is coordinating an art adventure this summer called, “Beyond Words,” funded by a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant supporting 25 Bad River youth, Tribal Youth Media (TYM), and non-tribal members in a series of place-based workshops across six locations in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (AINL) and the greater Lake Superior watershed.

Open to high school ages and above, this series includes five free place-based workshops in photography, drawing, painting, pastels and traditional Ojibwe art led by artists, scientists and Ojibwe culture experts from the area. This includes Jeff Rennicke, Terry Daulton, Diane Canfield Bywaters, Biskakone Greg Johnson, and Moore. Also, as part of Bad River Youth Outdoors (BRYO), a summer camp on the reservation, Tribal Youth Media (TYM) will create a video documentary about “Beyond Words.”

The intention of this project is to teach participants about the ecology, culture and history of each place and create artwork that “communicates their experience to the public and raises the awareness of the beauty, as well as imminent threats to this stunning natural area,” Moore stated in her grant application. To accomplish this, “Beyond Words” will be held outdoors following the ripple of water as it flows from the headwaters of Bad River through the Kakagon wild rice sloughs, to Madeline Island, around the AINL, and on to Red Cliff. Participants will learn (or brush up on) artistic skills used to create images that will integrate scientific and traditional knowledge of the area, the goal being to create a common vision that builds a bridge between generations and cultures. Completed works will be displayed in a public exhibition during the winter of 2016/2017.

“I’d like to attract a dedicated group of tribal and non-tribal youth, as well as interested community members, artists, etc.,” said Moore before giving a “Beyond Words” presentation at AINL headquarters on May 12. “Not necessarily ‘professionals,’ sometimes the most powerful art comes from people who are new to the process.”

The first workshop takes place at the Washburn Cultural Center on June 18 where participants will meet the artists and learn some basic art techniques.

“Since I teach field sketching and journaling, I will share those skills and Jeff will teach photography techniques. Those two skills will help participants gather their impressions of places in the field and can inform their final work,” Moore said.

Moore, though not from the area, has been a frequent visitor for over 20 years.

“I was smitten with this place, especially the crystal clear water. There’ve been many family vacations, teaching at summer workshops, stolen weekends from graduate school to work on my nature journals and paintings, followed by longer trips, until I finally had to give in and just move up here to save on travel time (a year ago),” she said.

Travel time was from Portage, Wisconsin where she grew up on a farm across from the Grassy Lake State Natural Area — 700 acres of pristine wilderness. This, and another not so beautiful place significantly impacted her childhood. On the other side of her farm was a rural county landfill that became a Superfund site due to unauthorized toxic waste.

“One day I came home and we couldn’t drink the water. I credit these two early experiences with shaping who I am today, and for giving me an understanding, on an emotional level, of the importance of protecting the water,” said Moore, who dreamed up “Beyond Words” as a means of protecting Lake Superior.

Moore balances her own art with teaching.

“I get tremendous satisfaction from seeing people who say they ‘are no good at art’ discover their creative voice,’ she said.

Her vision for “Beyond Words” began with her own place-based immersion in Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands as an artist. Gradually she became acquainted with some of the environmental threats facing the northland —the proposed Penokee mine in Iron County and a CAFO in Eileen — and began exploring environmental education through art. She also became acquainted with Ojibwe culture and art.

“At one point I asked myself, ‘how could art play a part in preserving and protecting the water, the beauty of this place and uniting people around it?’”

An answer crystalized after finishing graduate school last summer at UW-Stevens Point, when Diane Canfield Bywaters (art professor and former Apostle Islands Artist-in-Residence) mentioned the NEA Imagine Your Parks Grant. With only a month to complete her application, she hunkered down and immediately identified the important elements of her project: art, science and Ojibwe culture, “not just a token interest, but as a foundation.” She enlisted Mike Wiggins, former tribal chairman from Bad River, to help her, along with Loew, and Bob Krumenaker, AINL Superintendent, and his staff.

On May 11, NEA and the National Park Service announced an allocation of $1,067,500 in grant support for 50 grants in 27 states, including $15,000 awarded to the Bad River Tribe for Beyond Words: Artistic Visions of Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands with an Imagine Your Parks Grant. Moore is now ready to paddle this stream with her team.

“Jeff is a fantastic teacher/writer whose photography is sublime,” Moore crooned. “He has this way of capturing the light, beauty and spirit of Lake Superior that is ‘beyond words,’ but also has a gift for opening others’ hearts and minds to seeing the beauty around us.”

A writing/photography instructor at Conserve School, an environmental high school, Rennicke is a widely published writer in National Geographic Traveler, Backpacker, and Reader’s Digest, to name a few.

Also on Moore’s team, Johnson expresses himself through his Ojibwe heritage.

“He’s preserving many art forms for future generations and is very effective in teaching non-native people (such as myself) in ways I can understand,” Moore said.

Johnson’s workshops will take place at Bad River from July 6-8 during which time participants will also be introduced to Jessie Conaway of BRYO, founder of this summer camp that teaches outdoor skills to tribal kids so they could explore the water and learn more about their culture.

Bywaters will teach a workshop on Madeline Island on July 19 while Loew’s TYM crew films it.

“Diane has done 13 artist residencies in National Parks, and has taught plein aire painting in oils and acrylics in tandem with natural resource professors at UW-Stevens Point. She has a very engaging and unintimidating teaching style,” Moore said.

Loew, who’ll weave in and out of “Beyond Words” with TYM, is in the process of training and empowering dozens of youth in video production, her goal being to produce the next generation of storytellers and land stewards.

“I’m so honored to have her support for this project and am excited to see how these young artists will capture it,” Moore said.

On August 10, Daulton will teach a workshop in partnership with AINL interpreters on Stockton Island.

“Her artwork reflects a wonderful level of art and science integration, as well as her deep knowledge of the Apostle Islands and Lake Superior watershed and issues it faces,” Moore added.

Moore said she “stands on the shoulders of giants” and is part of a collective vision nurtured by the efforts of many others who’ve led successful projects in the past. However, hers will be looking through the lens of art.

To find out more about “Beyond Words” go to BeyondWordsProject.org or contact Moore at Beyondwordsproject@gmail.com. Space is limited. Those selected must attend all five sessions.

Hope McLeod can be reached at hmcleod@ashlanddailypress.net.