(Above: The Main House at the Anderson Center.)
After two days of driving, I arrived at the Anderson Center for my art residency. There are no words to describe just how wonderful this place has always been. It is steeped in a family's history, a rags to riches sort of tale of a genius man, Alexander Anderson, who invented Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat, built a stately house on his self-sustaining farm (1915 - 17), and whose family later generously gave the property to the school district. After several years, the school district no longer wanted to maintain it (and they apparently weren't doing much while it was in their keep.) So, twenty years ago, the the dream of an arts center went forward ... along with total restoration of all the buildings. I can't believe how lucky I am to enjoy this gift of time.
There are five artists-in-residence here. I actually heard Stephan Clark on NPR one day after his book Sweetness # 9 came out! Now, how cool it that! Paul Brantley came from NYC. He's a composer and writing a piece for the Horszowski Trio, a chamber ensemble. Justin Quarry teaches English at Vanderbilt and is working on a novel. Marianne Boruch is a poet and professor in the English Department of Purdue University. I'll get to know them better over the coming days as we have dinner together during the week. There's a lovely chef who prepares the meal and keeps the refrigerator stocked with all sorts of sandwich fixings, fruit, juice, eggs, etc. We help ourselves for our own breakfasts and lunches.
There was a great tour on Friday afternoon ... so that we would learn a little of the history as well as our way around the estate.
The tour included lots of interesting details ... like how the painted ceilings were restored.
Upstairs there is another spacious sitting room and four bedrooms. There's a back staircase too ... leading to the kitchen area. In fact, there are all sorts of passageways, closets, storage areas, and and amenities one wouldn't think of today.
(Above: The formal dining room.)
For example, the dining room looks beautiful ...
... but from this angle (looking back toward the sitting room), one can see another door. It isn't the door to the kitchen. It's the door to ...
... a well appointed china cupboard with space for extra chairs!
(Above: Sun room.)
Just a few steps from the dining room is actually where we've been eating. Why? Well, the weather here has been absolutely gorgeous. So, meals are in this lovely sun room.
Both the formal dining room and the sun room are connected to the Butler's pantry ... of course! LOL!
Naturally, these spaces are all next to the kitchen. The kitchen was admittedly not restored to the early 20th century original. Instead, it has all the modern conveniences ... including a dishwasher.
(Above: The kitchen pantry.)
Yet, it still has its original kitchen pantry too! The kitchen also leads to a nice, enclosed back porch area. There's a door to the basement too, and it isn't an ordinary basement at all. Instead of only serving as a place for laundry, the basement of the main house is connected via underground tunnels to almost all the other original buildings. I'm assuming that this the brutally cold Minnesota winter, the idea of getting from one location to another underground is really, really attractive. I will soon be taking more photos of these cool places.
For now, I'm sharing the rest of the Main House's ground level floor ... which is another bedroom. It is the one I'm occupying. Everything about it is charming ... from the glass door knobs to the beveled glass mirror built into the closet door.
There's even a fireplace and crocheted doilys on the night stands and desk.
The bathroom is all white tiled ... with the floor a patchwork of hexagons.
(Above: The library.)
My bedroom also has a door to the library. How convenient!
So ... what about the other buildings, especially those connected to the main house via a tunnel? Well, right behind the main house is this cute green house. The sidewalk doubles as the "roof" of the tunnel.
A little further away is the original ice house which is not connected via a tunnel.
Beyond the Ice House is the Anderson Center Sculpture Park. I'll be visiting there soon and sharing photos.
Further back are two buildings housing several studios. Most of the studios are rented year-round by local artists. I've only met one of them so far but I know they have great studios!
Two of the units are reserved for artists-in-residence but since I'm the only visual artist currently here, I got both!!!
This is my new, temporary work space. The wooden wall can roll out and divide the space into two units ... but not now! I'm be sharing my work later.
In the meantime, let me share what else I did today! I climbed the 78 stairs to the top of the Anderson Center water tower. (Yes, their is an underground tunnel connecting it to the Main House.)
On the way up ... I spotted this robin's nest on the ledge of one of the windows.
It took some time, but the robin finally flew back and I snapped this photo!
The room at the top of the water tower was well worth the hike up the stairs.
From the outside balcony, I could look back toward Red Wing with its big water tower on the horizon.
Here's the view down to the Main House.
Here's the view to Mr. Anderson's former laboratory building. The studios are further back.
Here's the view to the barn ... which underwent the most fabulous restorations. I'll save that for another day too.
Why wait? Well, the sun for shining and the Anderson Center provides the use of a bicycle. The trail is perfectly paved and has several wooden bridges along the way. I rode five miles before turning around to head back.
I also got off the bike and hiked a little on an old, former road ...