The Idea.

  • Establish an residency program that activates our beautiful, one-of-a-kind residential space, lovingly named, Crystal Creek Canyon Lodge
  • Invite creative professionals to explore and interact with the incredible, and often overlooked, Driftless region of southeastern Minnesota, while making meaningful connections with its people and places

How it works.

We will host three artists, individually, for week-long residencies during the months of June, July, August, or September 2020. The artists will be selected from diverse backgrounds with preference for one local or regional artist. Artists' work will be informed and inspired by the Driftless region of Minnesota and will help the community of Southeast Minnesota to rediscover and re-imagine their locale vis-à-vis the artists' respective viewpoints. Meet & Greets and Community Workshops will be coordinated with the citizen-artists and residents of Houston, MN, in partnership with local arts, history, and community organizations. Works created during the residency will be promoted and made accessible to inspire additional rural arts activities in Houston Co.

The Driftless.

The Driftless region of SE Minnesota, SW Wisconsin, NW Illinois & NE Iowa was bypassed by the last continental glacier, resulting in a steep and rugged landscape. The region includes elevations ranging from 603 to 1,719 feet and covers an area of 16,203 square miles. The land is home to diverse topography, soils, and plant communities. There are caves, effigy mounds, sinkholes, natural springs, rivers, creeks and delicious soda pop.

The Space.

Crystal Creek Canyon Lodge is a very special 1890s hand-hewn Norwegian cabin that has been lovingly relocated and reassembled atop a private road on a 10-acre parcel. The property provides great Bluff Country views, solitude, and nearby access to the Root River Bike Trail. It's moments from Houston, MN, and just 17 miles from La Crosse, WI. The cabin is just off the National Scenic Byway, Highway 16, and roughly 40 minutes from the nationally-renowned rural arts community, Lanesboro, MN.

All three levels of the cabin are open to you, but note that the upper is only accessible via ladder. There is a full kitchen, two bathrooms, and two bedrooms--one with the most amazingly comfy king-sized bed. There is wifi, a landline and no cell service. There is no television, but we've got coyotes, deer, owls and an amazing back porch. Please note that this is a very secluded, private neighborhood and our artist residents should be respectful of this quiet and relaxed environment.

There is a detached studio and garage space available as your artist workspace for the week. An additional larger outdoor enclosed space is available for projects requiring more room. A comfortable writing room is also conveniently off of the main bedroom.

Who Should Apply?

  • Writers
  • Chefs
  • Painters
  • Community organizers
  • Printmakers
  • Fiber artists
  • Filmmakers
  • Geographers
  • Journalists
  • Bloggers
  • Photographers
  • Public historians
  • Ethnographers
  • Documentarians
  • Public artists
  • Sculptors
  • Multi-media artists
  • Scholars
  • Scientists - social & natural
  • Illustrators & Comic Book Artists
  • Historic preservationists
  • Dancers
  • Musicians
  • Architects
  • Podcasters
  • Designers
  • Philosophers
  • Archeologists
  • Planners
  • & more!

The Specifics.

  • Priority will be given to one individual from the Southeast Minnesota region. We pride ourselves on bringing local talent back home to Houston County! Two citizen-artists will be selected from over yonder. (That means anywhere!)
  • CAIRs will be hosted individually for their respective week-long residency. However, we have been known to pair up citizen-artists for magical joint residencies.
  • Priority will be given to citizen-artists who have a strong desire to interact with Houston County and the surrounding people and places during their stay, as well as in their work. We expect you to discuss local assets that are attractive to you, pique your curiosity, and support or inspire your work in your proposal. (This also means it's best to become familiar ahead of time with these local assets and resources. We've assembled a community page for you to be inspired and get started!)
  • We are especially encouraging of non-traditional artists to apply, such as those that work in the humanities, social science, environmental and biological sciences
  • One week's stay at Crystal Creek Canyon Lodge and access to our spacious studio space is available to you, free of charge
  • Each CAIR will each receive a $400 stipend for their week-long residency
  • All materials, tools, and supplies must be provided by the CAIR
  • All meals are the responsibility of the CAIR
  • Application fee: $15 -- all collected application fees directly support the residency program
  • Please specify your desired month of residency in your application. If selected, we will do our best to accommodate your request.
  • Deadline for applications is March 21st, 2020. Three selected citizen-artists will be notified by March 28th, 2020.
  • Questions? Contact us.

Residency requirements:

  • ​You must undertake a new project or begin a new piece of work, or area of study, as part of this residency program that deeply engages with and/or is inspired by the Driftless region and southeastern Minnesota communities.
    • How might you be inspired? Whether it's hiking up the bluffs, listening to the creek flow from the porch, traveling the scenic byway, starting a conversation with a stranger, or participating in local cultural event, we are certain something will ignite your curiosity.
  • You must have a willingness and desire to explore and make connections with people and places throughout the region
  • You will coordinate with the residency program an opportunity for the local community to engage with you, your process and your work during the week-long residency--i.e. a reading, walk, workshop, skill-sharing event, etc.
  • You will make progress toward a completed piece during your residency that will be exhibited, performed or presented to the public at the conclusion of your residency
  • You will author a follow-up or reflection on your experience at Crystal Creek Canyon Lodge Citizen-Artist Residency no later than one month after the conclusion of your residency. It will speak to the opportunity the residency--and the region--provided you in your work.