A Letter from the Editor: ALIVE Issue 4
The Mississippi River is my talisman. I wasn’t born near it, but have always been drawn to it.
When I was 16, my friend John and I took a road trip to St. Louis. As we set out on our drive, it never occurred to me I could see the 2,300-mile long river at any other place.
It was night by the time we turned down the narrow streets of the old waterfront. I found it inconceivably wondrous we could pull our car onto the seemingly ancient cobblestone banks that skim the edges of the city. Steps from the silently rushing current, we opened every door, turned the stereo to 10 and danced on the river’s edge.
Today, tracing the course of the Mississippi, I travel north on Highway 61 from St. Louis, the place I now call home. I stop for photos, or sometimes only to see and breathe. A millennia of mounds, villages, ports, art, agriculture and industrial machinery dot the land and shores. At the confluence of the Illinois, Missouri and Mississippi, the waters slow, the energy is vital and the sky is wide.
The road trips have never stopped. They nourish my spirit. Farmer, artist, laborer—homestead, flat, harbor and square—I need to see the ways we build cities and live in them, work, worship and create.
In “Prism of Shifting Dreams,” Eileen G’sell’s interview with Wing Young Huie on page 22 of this issue, the photographer relates, “What I’m trying to do is understand how things are—not how they should be. And to photograph in a way that invites the viewer to consider what they think.”
Wing’s work resonates with us as we continue on our journey documenting the lives and work of artists living and working in the middle of America.
There is a common thread that unites the lives of the artists we visit in these pages. Alongside a commitment to virtuosic work, they are making a contribution to building the kind of world they want to live in.
Nina Ganci weaves a cloth of love and friendship.
Lisa Luck paints portraits of visibility and connection.
Zoey Cleary and Patrick Woodyard craft metal and leather into fair wages and new ideas of ethical commerce.
Julia Sullivan and Allison Poindexter feed our souls.
Wing Young Huie makes photos of our common bonds.
Taylor Carter and Colin Klimesh mold color and clay into movies of our memories and visions of alternate futures.
Tiana Clark teaches us to see where we have been blind.
Thank you for opening these pages to take this journey with us.