A 10th Anniversary
Sleeping Bear Dunes Artist-in-Residence
Poem and Portfolio
A celebration of place,
people, and park.
As a child, I was lured to the sparkling shores and magical dunes of Lake
Michigan and its lore. Intigued with this place of singing water and shifting
sands, I visited the place with my children and now with grandchilden to share
tales and instilll in them the wonders of our state.
In 2007 I was selected as the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore’s
artist-in-residence. The three weeks that I stayed in the park I meandered
dune trails, walked among North Manitou Island’s cedar giants, and explored the
waters seeking inspiration to tell the tale of the land, this “most beatuiful place
in America” as well as healing solace for a new life about to begin for me.
As I worked on my art piece I had the good fortune and honor of meeting
Michigan Odawa Indian artist/storyteller, Simon Otto, and his wife. Upon
handing me his newest book and braid of sweetgrass he shared with us his
people’s legend—and theme of my mixed media painting—the legend of the
Sleeping Bear. Inspired by the lake music and metre of Henry Wadworth
Longfellow’s “The Song of Hiawatha” poem I penned my own poem as part
of my public presentation and painting unveiling at the end of my artist-inresidency stay.
The story of the Sleeping Bear is more than a bear mother and her cubs. It
is a story of faith and hope, and reminds us that we all hold the power to dream ourselves a
new life, a better life.
Walk in Peace,