All open calls for art at the Livingston Center for Art and Culture in 2019 will be posted online so that you may submit work at anytime for jurying throughout the year. This will include our annual call to poets for our poetry in the windows annual celebration of April and national poetry month. Please refer to www.livingstoncenter.org and find ALL current and open calls under "Events & Exhibits". All exhibits require the completion of the online form, BEFORE submitting work by email to our ED Kathy. She can reached at[email protected]
April is National Poetry Month!
The Livingston Center for Art and Culture, in collaboration with Elk River Books, will celebrate by sponsoring Poetry in the Windows. Poems by local authors will be displayed in the windows of downtown businesses through the month of April. Community members can pick up a map in the gallery at 119 S. Main St. to follow a “poetry walk”.
A poetry reading will be held at 119 South Main ST beginning at 7pm. Date TBD.
This project is being implemented by the Livingston Center for Art and Culture and Elk River Books. All poetry is subject to this committee’s discretion as to whether or not it will be chosen to post in local Livingston business windows. Please format your works as close to the 8.5" X 14" paper size.
The history of the West is written not in lofty cathedrals, noble estates or heraldry, it’s in the sweat-soaked mattock and pick, the stained hatband, the crumpled boots inside the entry door and the old stove waiting to cook the evening meal. Its mining towns had a lifespan shorter than a man’s; when ore dropped in price, a mine closed and the town was hastily abandoned by everyone except for a few old timers who had made their last move, a lost cat or two, and a snaggle-toothed graveyard left to be sandblasted into oblivion.
But they were lusty while they lasted, these towns. A well-bred lady remarked of Bannack, “Many deaths have occurred this winter, but that there have not been twice as many is entirely owing to the fact that drunken men do not shoot well. There are times when it is really unsafe to go through the main street, the bullets whiz round so, and no one thinks of punishing a man for shooting another” (1863).
An arid wind and powdery snow help preserve these ghost towns --we step into a house and wonder if we’re intruding upon a family at its meal. We can hear the lilt of children on the wind, playing as only children can, if we hush, while their weary mothers call them in. In the saloon, the piano still tinkles through raucous voices and the clink of bottles. The tug of the artifacts pulls at this page of history, holds it poised in mid-swipe, will not let it fall irrevocably; the footfalls have barely faded into silence.
But nothing lasts forever – time or the developer’s earth-movers await– so now and then we must take inventory of our heritage.
In this spirit, the Livingston Center for Art and Culture is hosting a 5 week entitled “Memento Mori: Ghost towns of the American West”. Please submit up to 6 pieces for selection in any medium that depict or represent a ghost town in the West or its artifacts, as you “Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand /And Eternity in an hour”. This is a juried exhibit and a wide range of work is sought, representational and abstract.
Please email submissions to [email protected] and are due no later than Friday, September 13th at 4pm. Exhibit dates, September 24 thru October 19, 2019. Reception to be held on Friday, October 11, from 6 to 8pm at the Livingston Center for Art and Culture.
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Prairie Sentinels – Grain Elevators
June 4th through July 6th, 2019
The Livingston Center for Art and Culture is hosting a five-week exhibit this summer entitled “Prairie Sentinels—Grain Elevators”. Please submit up to 5 pieces for selection in any medium including paintings, photography, sculpture or mixed media that depict or represent any aspect of grain elevators. This will be a juried exhibit and a WIDE range of work is sought, representational and abstract.
Grain elevators were invented to store and transship grain on its journey from producer to market as American agricultural production exploded in the mid-19th century. When I come across one on a back road, though, it reminds me of the moai of Easter Island. True, those statues that stare seaward are thought to be ceremonial depictions of departed ancestors, with no other explicit function. Here, our departed ancestors were too frugal (and hard-pressed) to build monuments, but they cooperated as a community to build structures that helped effect economies of scale. What, in my mind, unites the two is the declaration they make -- “We’re here now” – a statement of fact that, for better or for worse, signifies an indelible human hand print upon a virgin landscape.
Looming over the surrounding country in a design that has changed very little, grain elevators reminded people of line-of-sight watchtowers keeping vigil, and were called “Prairie Sentinels”. Modern ones are clad in steel or made of concrete, but I have a weakness for the old wooden ones standing next to sidings where no locomotive has puffed in for a century or more. Crumbling stone sidings sprout weeds; ties askew, rusted rails run helter-skelter. Pigeons fly in and out of unglazed windows and the wind coaxes an impatient whistle from a ghost locomotive. Daubed with shreds of old paint, wood is whittled and roughened by age; sinews of wind-twisted metal hold tenuously. Painted messages exhort across a century, their voices only slightly hoarsened by time.
Newer grain elevators incise themselves effortlessly into images against storm clouds scudding across the Montana sky or silhouetted in the glow of a setting sun. A string of bright orange BNSF, or deep blue MRL, locomotives standing next to an elevator ties it off nicely, or you may strike gold and find a waiting line of brilliantly graffitied box cars. Or, maybe, just one sway-backed, rusted, antediluvian box-car, waiting patiently under a rusted chute for a load of grain ……. going nowhere at all. Limitless possibilities! - Ranga Parthasarathy