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In this episode, Matthew Fluharty speaks with Su Legatt on her upbringing in rural Minnesota, and how her experiences as an artist and advocate for rural communities have shaped her recent work and her sense of where we are headed in both the national conversation on rural culture and in the current forms of support and visibility available to rural artists.

We have a chance in this conversation to see these ideas intersect across her work, notably in her recent series Dish – which celebrates the forms of generational knowledge, local culture, and personal creativity present in the Midwestern potluck.  The events, and the subsequent Dish book all offer, in Su’s words, an opportunity to “bring people together for intimate exchange and the preservation of private moments” and to “collectively build a more complex and complete understanding of Minnesota identity while building new connections and strengthening existing networks.”

Along the way here, Su also shares her work in Advice from Minnesota Grandmothers, which shares some similarities with the Dish events, in that she presents another element of rural everyday life – in this case the crocheted doily – and offers it as a vessel for a much deeper channel of generational knowledge. Like Dish, it defamiliarizes our associations to objects and practices that we might initially dismiss or overlook. After being with this work, we find surprising bridges between cultures, and some powerful expressions of vulnerability and intimacy, that emerge from these materials.

Su Legatt is an artist, educator, and community organizer. Her photography, installation, and social practice projects explore the quiet, often unnoticed, individual moments of every day life. Su utilizes a variety of community engagement techniques and crowd sourcing methods to create opportunities for participants to share with others in the hopes of creating what she describes as “micro moments of empathy.”

Su is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead and Utah State University and she has taught photography, digital media, and professional development courses at Lake Superior College, Minnesota State University Moorhead, and North Dakota State University and a wide variety of workshops throughout the United States.

She works with various non-profit organizations to organize and create cultural events that help to improve the social structures and relations within each community. As an Arts and Culture Commissioner for the city of Moorhead, Minnesota  Ms. Legatt works with legislators, non and for profit organizations, and local artists to support and strengthen the role of the region’s creative community.

High Visibility is a podcast, exhibition, and publication series produced by Art of the Rural and Plains Art Museum that welcomes into conversation artists, culture bearers, and leaders from across rural America and Indian Country. 

We are grateful for the support of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Artist photograph above by Amanda Fechtner

High Visibility is a longterm, collaborative partnership between Art of the Rural, Plains Art Museum, and individuals & organizations across the continent. Please feel welcome to join us in this work.