A site-specific, self-led audio story walk that unfolds along one of our nature trails. DOWNLOAD STORY HERE
Talk to our staff during open hours if you want to check out headphones and listening devices from our Visitor Center.
Use these directions for downloading the story if you want to use your own phone. We recommend downloading the story so you can listen uninterrupted when you leave the reach of the guest wifi at the Visitor Center.
For Android phones:
MP3 Player Directions checked out from Visitor Center:
Launch Event July 29th 1pm-3pm
Project runs through October 29th, 2023
This 45-minute audio piece requires listeners to walk slowly over an easy one-mile hiking trail while listening.
The Seeker is an immersive story about a person overwhelmed by the great grief of our times and their own personal grief over their father’s death. Through listening to the music held in the restoring woods of Sugarloaf Cove and the expansive water of Gitchi Gumi they remember their soul’s origin and live out hundreds of new futures.
Sugarloaf Cove has been a sacred place for me. When my father died in 2016, I came to this lake where he took me throughout my childhood to grieve. The year after he died, I had a child and brought her here for our first trip together. For this project, I wanted to explore why this place means what it does to me. What has it gifted me? What can I offer back, as thanks, to the ways it has healed me?
As a European American, queer artist, I worked through layers of hesitations about writing about a place that is not my ancestral homeland. A place where my people have caused great damage. European Americans have orchestrated land theft from Indigenous nations throughout this region while buying and selling what exists here to fuel industry that I both resist and rely on. Sugarloaf Cove used to be owned by a paper company. I am a writer that wrote several drafts of this story on whole notebooks of paper. My life is an extension of the history and present day mix of multiple realities that play out on this shore. I came to feel that the fact that I am European American is the reason why I must add my ideas and imagination on the journey towards repair. I set out to write a story that helped me practice being in relationship with this place. I came here as student, moved by what the land, the water, and other people are doing in service of restoration.
What is true for me is that I have felt loved by this place and I love it right back. I wanted to create a modern myth that explored my sense of resonance here beyond my one lifetime and identity. In order to write this story, I came here often and quieted myself. I slowed down. I opened up to listen and receive from this place. The Seeker was written over several visits and a hundred loops on the nature trail, revised through tuning into infinite love. I hope there is resonance for you, too, dear listener, in this humble offering.
Diver Van Avery
Thank you to the following friends, family, and treasured artists who sang on the final song:
Sharon Bridgforth, Crystal Brinkman, Tupelo Frances McGuire Cook-Shuler, Mike Hoyt, Masanari Kawahara, A.P. Looze, Marianne Norris, Miré Regulus, Nina Roberson, Byrd Shuler, Silversmith, Harper Anne Van Avery, Pramila Vasudevan, Erin Walsh, Gradylee Shapiro-Zimmer, Emily Zimmer
Indigenous writers, storytellers, friends, historians, contemporary thinkers, and artists who have tended to and evolved the stories of this place and the people who have lived in relationship with the water, rocks, animals, sky, and time. Their work weaves together righteous imagination, humor, depth, brilliance, teachings, and love that have impacted my life immensely. A short list included Sharon Day, Louise Erdrich, Heid Erdrich, Sequoia Hauck, Susan Power, Maggie Thompson, Diane Wilson, Rhiana Yazzie, and so many more…thank you.
Irish and Germanic Nordic story-keepers, tellers, weavers, and remember-ers whose work has taught me that my people hold our own stories of the ways water and land are tied to our political resistance against oppressive power and have taught me that love stories matter. Especially my nana and Uncle Larry who are ancestors whose presence light my fire of creation…thank you.
Lois Egan who has been an instrumental way-shower in weaving my internal and external healing together…thank you.
Cara Carlson, Elder Atum, and Moving from Race to Culture Cohort, Cultural Wellness Center…thank you.
Leah Garza and the Akashic Record Mentorship…thank you.
Beloved chosen family and my moms and sister who have supported me and my kiddo during the grieving of my father and this project…thank you.
Staff of Sugarloaf Cove who has been open and ease-filled in their spirit of yes to art/artists. A huge thank you to Dominique who has been incredibly supportive and done much of the behind the scenes work to manifest this project…thank you.
Arts Funders in Minnesota who make this work possible…thank you.
The team of musicians and artists who have helped me bring dimension and depth to this project who have lended their gifts and generous hearts to bringing it to life. A massive thank you to Peter Morrow who carried this project in his open heart and tended to all of the details with his mastery at every step of the way…thank you.
Past collaborators and fellow art makers who have inspired me to believe in myself and create in support of my unfolding/healing, especially Sharon Bridgforth, Mike Hoyt, Masanari Kawahara, Miré Regulus, Witt Siasoco, Silversmith, Pramila Vasudevan, and countless others…thank you.
My father who left me with the resources and inspiration that I needed to live more fully alive…thank you.
My child who is my teacher, who moves me to ask big questions and to know infinite love…thank you.
Grady who is my soul friend that I can’t wait to meet again…thank you.
A.P. Looze who is all of the above…thank you.
Chris Hepola (Drummer) Chris Hepola is a drummer, piano player and composer based in Minneapolis. He has written original compositions and arranged music for a wide variety of ensembles including The Poor Nobodys, House on Fire Band, Marsgarb and The Real Chuck Norad. In addition he has written music for many films and documentaries.
A.P. Looze (Bass Compositions) is a transgender Minneapolis-based multi-disciplinary artist. Their work has spanned performance, music, installation, and a variety of visual artistic mediums. At the center of their work is a commitment to love. They are a 2023-2025 Jerome Hill Artist Fellow in Combined Artistic Fields.
Peter Morrow (Sound and Technical Designer) is a Composer, Sound & Video Designer and teaching artist from Dublin, Ireland. Since moving to the Twin Cities in 2012 his collaborations with individual artists, theatres, dance companies and universities have included work with Pillsbury House, Red Eye Theatre, Ten Thousand Things, Ifrah Mansour, Leslie Parker, zAmya, Threads Dance Company, The Playwright Centre, Wonderlust, Theatre Latte Da, Macalester College, Augsburg University, University of. Minnesota and the Guthrie Theatre.
Crystal Myslajek (Composer and singer) is a Minneapolis-based multi-instrumentalist and composer who collaborates with artists across the Twin Cities on experimental film, performance art, theater, and dance projects. She has crafted an oceanic, emotive style of reverb-laden vocal and textural piano dreamscapes, drawing inspiration from minimalism, improvisation, pop, post-classical, jazz, ambient, and field recordings. Recent and current project highlights include her duo Chama Devora with Liz Draper, compositions for The Seeker by Diver Van Avery, and performing original music and sound design for SuperGroup’s FINE. Among her numerous projects, Crystal sang and played bass guitar in the bands Brute Heart and IE, has released original music on several indie labels including Moon Glyph, Water Wing Records, Æther Sound, and Soft Abuse, and has produced original works commissioned by the Walker Art Center, Red Eye Theater, and The Cedar Cultural Center.
Witt Siasoco (Graphic Design) has been actively engaged in the intersection of the arts and civic processes through a variety of roles – as artist, graphic designer, and arts educator. Throughout his career, Siasoco has developed several community-engaged projects including This House is Not for Sale, a screenprinting based public art project with Poetry for People’s Diver Van Avery that received an Americans for the Arts’ Public Art Award; and Carry On Homes Northeast, an art installation and series of engagement focused on immigrant involvement in the Census 2020. By far his most rewarding project is his partnership and involvement with Juxtaposition Arts and City of Skate to co-develop JXTA’s Skateable Art Plaza, a multi-use public space. Siasoco was recently awarded a Jerome Foundation Fellowship in the Visual Arts for 2021-2022.
Moheb Soliman (Advisor) is an interdisciplinary poet from Egypt and the Midwest who’s presented work at literary, art, and public spaces in the US, Canada, and abroad with support from the Banff Centre, Joyce Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, and others. He has degrees from The New School for Social Research and University of Toronto and was Program Director for the Arab American lit and film organization Mizna before receiving a multi-year Tulsa Artist Fellowship and most recently a Milkweed Editions fellowship. His debut poetry collection HOMES (Coffee House Press, 2021), about nature, modernity, identity, belonging, and sublimity through the site of the Great Lakes bioregion/borderland, was a Minnesota Book Awards and Heartland Booksellers Award finalist and showcased in Ecotone Journal and Poets & Writers.
Diver Van Avery (Lead Artist) is a Minneapolis-based queer writer and public artist seeking to infuse the poetic into the public. Co-founder of Poetry for People, Diver is passionate about collaborative projects that impact people and policy in the pursuit of joy, creativity, and dismantling white supremacy. Diver received an MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University and has a Masters in Counseling and Psychological Services. In all of her creative and professional roles, Diver is passionate about racial equity, gender liberation, and creating artistic opportunities for emerging, queer, and/or artists of color to re-shape the world towards relational love. Diver is proud to be a single parent by choice and is grateful to the ancestors, descendants as well as the trees, rocks, water, animals, sky, and elements who guide the healing work. divervanavery.com
Diver Van Avery is a fiscal year 2023 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.