The artist residency season at the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies kicks off this month with writers, an artist and a musician representing six states. All visiting artists take time from their creative work to perform a community service activity, interacting with local residents.

The season will run through October.

Abbey Blake

Mixed media artist

Abbey Blake, who graduates this spring from the University of Iowa with a master's degree in printmaking, is working on mixed media pieces using a variety of objects and photographic transfer onto materials such as fabric, welded steel, weavings, wood and found objects.

Her project this month at Tower View will be to create works influenced by the Anderson Center and Red Wing, incorporating the estate's history as a farm and a laboratory for cereals.

Blake, originally from Ohio, has been awarded several residencies to focus on developing her landscape-inspired pieces.

Community service: Red Wing Women's Network

Colwill Brown

Fiction writer

A native of Yorkshire, England, Colwill Brown emigrated to the United States and became a writing instructor in Kansas, an English literature student in Boston, a literary arts administrator, and currently a creative writing teacher in Massachusetts living with disabilities due to a chronic illness.

He will devote his month in Red Wing to complete a draft of his novel in progress, "Hysteria," which draws from his own family's history in Doncaster, a small northern town in Yorkshire. His mother grew up in poverty but was determined to get an education and pursue a career while also supporting her children.

Community service: Goodhue County Adult Detention Center

Rachael Kilgour

Music composition

Songwriter and performing artist Rachael Kilgour, who studied music at the University of Minnesota Duluth, has been winning awards and praise because, as one person wrote, her "lyric-driven work bravely walks the line between personal and political."

Her newest EP, "Game Changer," was released in February. While at the Anderson Center for her first artist residency, she is working on a new thematic album that focuses on her late father, herself and the world she lives in. She also performed as opening act for Jeremy Messersmith May 11 at the Sheldon Theatre.

Community service: Deer Crest

Dustin Pearson


Poet Dustin Pearson from Tallahassee, Fla., has been a student and educator at Clemson (S.C.) University, Arizona State University and now Florida State University. In addition to print, he has presented his work in film and video.

While in Red Wing the award-winning writer is continuing a path that began with "Millennial Roost" and "A Family Is a House." His theme moves from coming of age and family dynamics to the next stage, which involves the metaphorical journey of two siblings - their relationship and what happens when they leave the house.

Community service: Minnesota Correctional Facility-Red Wing

Sandra Jackson-Opoku

Fiction writer

The author of two novels, Sandra Jackson-Opoku has earned many honors and fellowships that encourage her writing. She also writes poetry, essays, children's stories, reviews and travel articles. Jackson-Opoku has taught literature and creative writing in Chicago and Miami and has presented numerous workshops and other programs.

Inspiration for her writing comes from "identity, culture and community in the African Diaspora," she said. She explores black life in nearby and far-flung places around the globe. Her novel-in-progress is "Black Rice," about the connection between China and people of African descent.

Community service: Tower View Alternative School

Cathy Che


Cathy Lihn Che from Brooklyn, N.Y., was educated in California and New York. She currently she teaches at Fordham University in New York, previously was at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and has been a visiting professor and writer in residence. She also is executive director of Kundiman in New York City, a national organization dedicated to the creation and cultivation of Asian American creative writing.

Che will be at the Anderson Center May 16-31. Her work project is a new book of poems documenting her parents' experiences while they were refugees after the Vietnam War.

Community service: Hispanic Outreach