Ten writers for children. All with something to say.

10/12/09

Interview with Robert Hedin of the Anderson Center

Can you provide a brief history of the Anderson Center?

The Tower View estate in Red Wing has been a familiar Minnesota landmark for almost a century. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Tower View, along with 330 acres of farm and forest land, comprises a legacy to the region from Dr. and Mrs. Alexander P. Anderson and their heirs. Dr. Anderson gained worldwide renown for developing the American breakfast cereals known as “Quaker Puffed Wheat” and “Quaker Puffed Rice.”

Since 1995, Tower View has been the home of the Anderson Center, the largest residential arts facility in the Upper Midwest. Along with its unique residency program, the Center hosts a variety of artistic, educational, and cultural activities throughout the year, including art celebrations, exhibitions, book fairs, performances, and other community-related events. The Center provides year-round studio space to more than a dozen working artists, including sculptors, glassblowers, painters, potters, poets, and print makers. It is also the home of several organizations whose related missions add to the synergy among disciplines—Red Wing Environmental Learning Center, Tower View Alternative High School, Red Dragonfly Press, among others. Add to this, southeastern Minnesota’s largest sculpture garden and a permanent art collection that is considered one of the finest in rural Minnesota, and the result is a vibrant and dynamic place dedicated to the arts.

Would you describe the Residency Program?

Each year, from May through October, the Center makes available private time and space to some 45 artists, writers, and scholars from the United States and abroad. Residencies, which include meals and lodging at the Center, are for two weeks to one month, during which time resident-fellows are expected to work on a clearly defined project and to make a substantive contribution to the community in the form of a talk, class, or performance of their work.

Since the Center opened, over 500 artists, writers, and scholars from more than 40 states and 26 foreign countries have come to stay at the Center. The Center also engages in artist exchange programs with artist communities in Europe and China and has scholarship programs with the University of Notre Dame, Pacific Lutheran University, and the University of Minnesota.

What is the application process like?

The application process is quite simple, with each applicant asked to fill out a brief application form and to provide a resume, work plan, and samples of work. The application deadline for May, June, and July is February 1; the deadline for August, September, and October is March 1.

Do you have some numbers for the Center’s annual Celebration of Minnesota Children’s Authors and Illustrators?

This wonderful event is hosted by the Anderson Center, Red Wing Public Library, and the Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul. Since it began in 1999, the celebration has attracted more than 13,000 people from the five-state area, with over 130 of Minnesota’s finest children’s writers and illustrators having participated. It has always been one of my favorite Anderson Center events, and I look forward to it every year.

Do you have a website?

Yes, it’s www.andersoncenter.org. Or, call: 651-388-2009.

4 comments:

Christy said...

What a gift! It makes the heart glad to know that artists, writers and scholars are encouraged in this inspiring setting. I'm going to have to check it out.

john said...

Robert told me that they love having writers for children here, but they have not had that many apply, so if you apply the chances are strong of being accepted.

edie said...

Sounds like a wonderful opportunity that I might enjoy, too!

David LaRochelle said...

I will agree that the Celebration of Children's Authors and Illustrators is indeed a wonderful event, and I'd encourage anyone who is in the area to attend next September. I've taken part as both a presenter and a visitor, and both are a great deal of fun. It's not often you can listen to so many talented children's book creators for free!