This was a project that was inspired by the surprising, and somewhat unknown, creativity in the small town of Grand Marais, Minnesota. Just over 1300 people, this harbor village had a performing arts center, along with a vibrant community of artists and local festivals. When I got together with local graphic designer Katherine Hellner and Thunder Bay visionary Maggie Chicoine (Milne), there was no stopping us.
The largest challenge was communicating the power of collaboration and the potential for this publication to promote the whole region of the North Shore of Lake Superior. In the end, I was unable to change the traditional thinking and competitive approach of the various artists, businesses, and communities from “every person for her/himself” to a powerful collaborative approach, which could more effectively market this particularly creative and spectacular region of the North Shore.
I built over 150 contacts and collaborations from Duluth, Minnesota, to Thunder Bay, Ontario, in just over one year. I self-published four issues, doing everything except the graphic design work. I wrote and edited articles, solicited volunteers to write, took photos for each issue, coordinated the layout, oversaw the printing process, created marketing materials, handled media and publicity, sold advertising, set up distribution, and managed subscriptions.
The 4th issue, its name evolving into Transforming Boundaries: A North Shore Collection of Arts and Inspiration, placed 3rd in the Printing Industries of Wisconsin Graphic Excellence Awards. View the pdf of a portion of this final issue here.
This project was a success, in that it promoted the extraordinary creativity in this North Shore region in a way that no other publication had done before. I also discovered my own passion for the creative and experienced firsthand the power of this passion in the publishing of this unique arts journal. However, financially, this project did not succeed, since it was not supported by the communities in this area. Unfortunately, after several years of trying to communicate the incredible potential of collaboration, and the vision of Transforming Boundaries, I found that many of the artists and businesses in the area did not see the value of working together, or the value of a publication like this one. Despite its “failure,” I learned much in this creative process!
Copies of all four issues of Transforming Boundaries are available for viewing.
It all began with Renee Moe at Sterling Dance…
I was so inspired by Renee’s dance performances that I decided to take a class from her to learn how to tap dance! After I learned some basic tap dance steps, I wrote a tap performance piece, which I have performed publicly at a variety of events, including on a radio talk show.
I figured if I could learn how to tap dance at the age of 44, I could learn how to do anything…. which is what led me to creating and self-publishing Transforming Boundaries.