Category Archives: Events

Racial issues exhibit visits Rochester

By: Erin Jones and Andrew Schouweiler

A smaller version of the Science Museum of Minnesota’s RACE exhibit is on display at the Rochester Public Library until April 30, 2019.

Before the library, Rochester’s Apache Mall hosted the RACE exhibit.

The mini versions of the RACE exhibit, according to the Science Museum of Minnesota, are 500 square-feet and include easy-to-set-up displays for smaller venues like the library and the mall.

The content of each display is created to be easily understood, so people of all ages can participate in the walk-through exhibit.

Kim Edson, head of readers’ services at Rochester Public Library, explained the goal of the RACE exhibit.

“It takes it from both a scientific point of view – looking at race from a biological level, by the way, there’s no such thing – and it also explores the sociological concept of race and how it has had many impacts in our culture,” Edson said.

Rochester was home to the RACE exhibit for eight months in 2010. The exhibit was brought back this year through grants from the federal government.

Dee Sabol, executive director of Rochester’s Diversity Council, explained how the grants allowed the Science Museum to work with the Rochester Public Library to bring the RACE exhibit back to Rochester.

“They were able to create the smaller, traveling versions of the RACE exhibit and bring them out to the community through those grant funds,” Sabol said.

According to Winona State University’s Associate Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity Jonathan Locust, funds toward the exhibit’s return were also donated by the Inclusion and Diversity office.

“There were donations from my office in particular for the amount of $500, as well as a donation from WSU-Rochester in the amount of $500,” Locust said.

Locust said donating to the exhibit was beneficial to Winona State and to people in communities surrounding the exhibit who may not know the history of race and racism.

He said much of the history people have learned over time is not inclusive of people who are of different races, genders, ethnicities and abilities.

“Our history has been completely whitewashed,” Locust said. “Having people go out and doing some digging on their own [then being able to say], ‘What information has been left out of the history that I’ve learned?’ And then maybe ask those deeper questions, ‘Why has it been left out?’”

Edson and Sabol both said getting people to ask those hard questions and generating conversation about race and racism is another part of the RACE exhibit’s purpose.

“We believe this exhibit gives people an opportunity to think a little bit deeper about the topic,” Edson said. “Our goal is to engage community conversations about this issue and hopefully impact change.”

Sabol said so far, the exhibit has been successful in generating community discussion.

She said when the RACE exhibit was in Rochester in 2010, people left angry and disagreed with the information presented in the displays.

“They would come back more than once and it would at least get them involved in a discussion and I think that’s really the point is to look at something a little bit differently,” Sabol said.

Traffic to the exhibit this year has been high as well, according to Locust.

With the exhibit in the mall during the holidays, the flow of visitors was heavy, which carried over into the following months.

“We know we got some heavy traffic right around MLK Day, we know we got some in February for Black History Month because there are some people who did some programs in there,” Locust said.

Edson and Sabol said with conversation about race being generated within the community, they are working on trying to find a permanent home in Rochester for the RACE exhibit.

Grant funds have given Edson and Sabol the opportunity to put on additional programming, so members of the community can take advantage of other resources to learn about race.

“We’ll have speakers and presenters now who will talk about different aspects of race and racism,” Sabol explained. “There are other learning opportunities, some workshops and things like that [and] we hope to have a couple film screenings as well.”

New painting installed in Baldwin Lounge

A new painting by a Winona State University faculty member was put on display in a campus building on Friday, April 22.  

ChunLok Mah, chair of the Winona State art department, showed off his painting entitled “Storm: Before and After” in Baldwin Lounge of Winona State’s Kryzsko Commons student union building.  

Mah said his piece walks the viewer through the emotions of a storm starting at the left and going to the right.  

In his artist statement, Mah wrote about what the piece means to him.  

“The emotions were a collision of past and present experiences that reminded me of all the harsh, bitter and difficult events that I fought for years that often resulted in bittersweet endings,” Mah said. “It was like having an epiphany of life condensed in one moment.” 

The painting is about 17 feet wide.  

Joe Reed, Winona State’s student union/activities director, bought the painting from Mah after President Scott Olson told him about the piece.  

The total cost of the painting and instillation was $4,800. 

Guests at the reception listen as Mah speaks about his piece. He described the brush work as “tough raw brush strokes” to give a feeling of anxiety.

“Storm: Before and After” was on display at an exhibit when Reed first saw it. Reed said the display of the painting did not do it justice.  

Reed wanted to find a good place in Kryzco Commons for the painting.  

“We are walking around Kryzco and all of a sudden it hit me…Baldwin,” Reed said. “Since the renovation to the bookstore and this edition it was always a dark room and now we got all these windows.”  

Mah said there were some difficulties during the installation process. 

“The chosen design proceeds to post many challenges like lack of proper lighting, wall dimension, weak drywall, and thermostat outlet position, during the installation,” Mah said. “We made some major tweaks so the artwork fits seamlessly to the setting.” 

At the reception, Mah said he hoped students would see the painting and talk about what it means to them.  

Mah said he used raw brush strokes to evoke anxiety from the viewer.  

At the conclusion of Mah’s speech he asked those in attendance to talk about the feeling the painting evoked 

Guests at the reception in Baldwin hall admire “Storm: Before and After. One of the guests pictured said for her the painting show optimism because if in the darkest part there is still light.

Hedi Ryan, Winona State art and design office assistant, talked about the feelings the painting evoked.  

Ryan said she saw the painting as a metaphor for how to approach life. She said because there is still light in the darkest photo, which for Ryan shows optimism through good and bad times.  

Baldwin Lounge, where the reception was held, is a quit study place for students.  

Reed said he took the purpose of the space into consideration when he was planning the reception.  

Reed said to him as with students he views Baldwin Lounge as a place for studying.  

“Because to me, as is the students, Baldwin is kinda like a sacred ground for study time,” Reed said. “It’s appropriate we have the reception there and Friday would be a good day because it’s the least used.” 

When Reed arrived at the reception, he walked up to students studying at the tables and explained what was going on and apologized for the inconvenience 

He also told studying students to help themselves to refreshments.  

Mah is honored to have a piece in the Kryzco collection.  

“Joe’s proposal and the location choice was a dream come true to me,” Mah said. “It turns out to be better than I thought.” 

For more information about ChunLok Mah or to see more of his art visit:

https://www.winona.edu/art/faculty.html

http://chunlokmah.com/

Annual senior art show kicks off with “Fluid Studio”

The culmination of four years of dedication to art will be on display at Winona State University during the last two weeks of the 2019 spring semester.

The annual Senior Art Show will feature work by students graduating on May 10 or who will be graduating in the fall, all majoring in art, art education and design.

Roger Boulay, the Gallery and Art Collection Coordinator said the addition of the design students is new to the show this year which brings a new element to the exhibition.

“They’re presenting a range of work; some have altered photographs, some students have designed their own patterns that will be printed,” Boulay said. “One design student is making clothing, he’s really interested in fashion so he’s making his own jacket that will be laser engraved with text on it.”

The show opens on April 29 and features six students with a show called “Fluid Studio,” that will deal in color and the challenge of a group show.

Student observes art
Sophomore Zayle Swope observes Olivia VanDenBerge’s instillation piece “Garden of My Heart” in Watkins Gallery on Tuesday, April 30.

“It’s a little bit tricky in a group show when you have six different artists with six very different points of view to find one theme that really encapsulates everyone,” Boulay said. “So Fluid Studio is meant to speak to that conundrum of a group show.”

The second week will focus on the remaining six students starting May 6, the theme for that show is “Roots,” which explores where people are from, ideas of home and self-portraiture.

Kieran McDonnell, a senior majoring in studio arts is in the “Fluid Studio” exhibit.

McDonnell expressed his excitement on showing his work in a gallery that has featured many nationally and internationally known professional artists.

“To be in the same space as them is really an honor, but this show is really a wonderful opportunity for us,” McDonnell said. “Our show is based around our perception of how we’ve grown as artists…everyone in here has worked hard and we are all looking forward to seeing this show come to completion.”

“Fluid Studio” was originally going to feature the students’ first self-portrait alongside a current one, but for spacing reasons that element was cut from the first show.

This element will be featured in “Roots,” allowing gallery viewers to see the progress of each student and compare the two works.

In Boulay’s class, students create a professional portfolio and learn how to install , so they will be installing the exhibit in the Watkins Gallery.

Students hang art work
Jesse Peterson (right) hangs “Self Care Girlie” with the help of her classmate, Kieran McDonnell, in Watkins Gallery on Friday, April 26 as part of her exhibition in the annual Senior Art Show. Peterson and McDonnell are participating in the first week of the show titled “Fluid Studio” which runs April 29 through May 1.

“It’s entirely up to the students to design and install their own exhibition,” Boulay said. “I’ve taught them how to install their work and now it’s up to them to get everything organized and decide how everything is going to look. It’s also really exciting for students who are graduating to have an exhibition in the gallery during commencement, so they can bring their families through and look at their work.”

The Watkins Gallery is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with extended hours on Wednesdays.

For additional information about Watkins Gallery and the exhibit follow these links:

https://www.facebook.com/wsuwatkinsgallery/

www.winona.edu/art/Exhibitions.html

https://www.winona.edu/art-galleries/visit.asp

“Robert A. DuFresne Performing Arts Center” dedication gathers community

A crowd of more than 50 people gathered on Winona State University’s campus on Monday, April 29, for the unveiling of the newly named “Robert A. DuFresne Performing Arts Center.”

Dufresne, who passed away in 2015, was president of Winona State from 1967-78, and was president during the construction of seven buildings on campus, including the PAC.

The dedication event began with various speakers, and was followed by refreshments in the PAC lobby.

University President Scott Olson spoke on the impact DuFresne had on the university as a whole, and on himself.

“He was a friend and mentor to me, and he was also a hero to me,” Olson said. “It’s entirely fitting that we gather here to remember Bob DuFresne and everything he meant to this university, and at last recognize what he meant to us.”

President Scott Olson speaks about the impact Robert DuFresne had on Winona State University at an unveiling event on Monday, April 29. The event was the official renaming ceremony of the building as the newly-named “Robert A. DuFresne Performing Arts Center.”

DuFresne’s wife and son, Barbara and Jeff DuFresne, also shared comments at the event.

Barbara DuFresne spoke mostly about her husband’s time as president of the university, as well as his time with Winona State after his presidency.

Jeff DuFresne focused on how fitting it was for the PAC to be named after his father, stating that he “was always a great supporter of the performing arts.”

Barb DuFresne, wife of Robert DuFresne, speaks about Robert DuFresne’s time as university president during the renaming ceremony of the “Robert A. DuFresne Performing Arts Center” on Monday, April 29.

The proposal for the name change, which had initially been brought up in December of 2017, was written by three former Winona State faculty members: Jim Reynolds, a retired sociology professor, Gary Evans, retired Vice President of University Advancement and George Bolon, a retired physics professor.

“This is a long overdue recognition, and entirely fitting honor,” Reynolds said. “This is a legacy that I think should be honored and celebrated.”

Bolon also spoke on how fitting it was for the PAC to be named after DuFresne, not only for his love of the performing arts, but also because the PAC was the first building to be constructed during DuFresne’s tenure as university president.

Bolon concluded his speech with thoughts about DuFresne.

“We are all better persons for having known Robert A. DuFresne,” Bolon said.

Following the speeches, the building was dedicated with the unveiling of a new sign by Olson, Reynolds and Barb DuFresne.

A crowd of more than 50 students, faculty and community members gather at the newly-named “Robert A. DuFresne Performing Arts Center” at the renaming ceremony on Monday, April 29.

Sustainability Fair

Winona State University held its first Sustainability Fair where students could talk to students, community members and businesses about sustainability.

The fair was February 27 and was held in the East Hall of Kryzsko Commons from 4-7 p.m.

Leah Dechant, a Winona State student and student worker for the sustainability office was one of the main planners of the fair.

“I always notice that students don’t really know much about sustainability,” Dechant said. “Or that we live in such a great area called Winona with all these options, they’re all local, organic, sustainable businesses, or companies that provide environmentally friendly options.”

She said the fair was designed to create a place for community members as well as students, faculty, and staff to get together in one place with a common theme of sustainability.

The fair showcased sustainable practices and ideas in and around Winona State.

There was no fee to attend the event and the booths were set up without a registration fee. Free snacks were also set out for people to enjoy and there was live music.

Jeanne Franz, a sustainability advisor and professor at Winona State said that Dechant reached out to people and businesses, and said, “No fee. If you want to come, please come.”

A banner was on a table being signed by people who came to the fair. One signature meant one pledge to live more sustainable.

Christie Hill signing to pledge to live more sustainable.

Franz said 12 years ago, Winona State signed the president’s climate commitment that by the year 2050, Winona State will be carbon free or carbon neutral.

This means Winona State will not produce carbon more than is being consumed by the university.

Franz said Winona State has begun taking steps toward this goal.

Dechant said that there are other things that she would like to see on campus as well.

“I would love to see more sustainable technologies, buildings and projects on campus,” Dechant said.

Franz said, “A few years back the students voted themselves a green fee which has helped fund the sustainability office including a full-time person, Nathan Engstrom, whose job is completely devoted to sustainability.”

One exhibitor talked about what you can do with certain spices and home remedies for ailments.

He had made his own kombucha that he shared, as well as showed his dried herbs and spices that he had collected and foraged.

Exhibitor showing table of home remedies.

Dechant’s table was handing out reusable water bottles and seeds participants could plant.

Leah Dechant (left) with fellow students handing out reusable water bottles.

“It’s not a hobby or lifestyle anymore,” Dechant said. “We need to change our ways.”

Students “Take Back the Night” in downtown Winona

By Zach Bailey and Nicole Girgen

Take Back the Night, an event dedicated to survivors of gender-based violence, was held by the women, gender, and sexuality studies senior capstone class at Winona State University on Tuesday, April 9.

The event was co-sponsored by the Women’s Resource Center and Winona State’s RE Initiative.

Though the event has been held on campus for multiple years, this year Take Back the Night underwent a series of changes to their typical program, including a move to downtown Winona’s Central Park.

Woolen Lover performs "I am here" at Take Back the Night
Local musician and artist Woolen Lover performs their song “I am here,” encouraging those at Take Back the Night to add their voices to the recording. The annual event was moved to Winona’s Central Park from Winona State’s campus to be more involved with the community.

Molly Sarbacker, a peer advocate and educator for RE Initiative on campus and three-year veteran of the event, explained the changes.

“By hosting it in the community, it gives community members an opportunity to be involved in this,” Sarbacker said. “We’re making it more community based, kind of the grown up version of what Take Back the Night used to be.”

Molly Sarbacker speaks to the marchers.
Winona State peer advocate and educator for RE Initiative, Molly Sarbacker, encourages the crowd to chant louder as the march passes several bars in downtown Winona on Tuesday, April 9.

Along with the change of location, this year’s event also discontinued the section where survivors share their stories.

“Last year was super emotional,” Sarbacker said. “In the past we have had the march, then everyone gathers in East Room and has ‘speak out,’ which gave anyone the opportunity to come forward and share their story. With all the emotions it brings a lot of triggers.”

According to Sarbacker, the class in charge of setting up the event decided to make this change in order to make the event more centered around healing rather than trauma.

Nathel Kaiyepu performs at Take Back the Night
Winona State senior Nathel Kaiyeepu performs a cover of “Chandelier” by Sia at Take Back the Night on Tuesday, April 9. The event focused on creating a healing atmosphere for survivors of sexual assault.

“It’s been a great healing space, giving survivors the chance to share their story in an inclusive survivor- and trauma-centered space,” Sarbacker said. “I’m excited to see the changes without so much storytelling. This is a great night, but emotional.”

The night began with a group of speakers who were given the chance to either tell their story, or speak in support of the event.

Sydney Radler, senior social work major and co-president of Full Spectrum, Winona State’s gender and sexuality alliance club, was one of the speakers to tell their story during Take Back the Night.

“This is my fourth Take Back the Night, and I’ve spoken every year,” Radler said. “Every year I don’t think I’m gonna speak, but something comes up in me and I have to.”

Radler spoke about shame and Take Back the Night’s impact on the LGBT community.

Following speakers and musicians who discussed topics like violence against indigenous women and the importance of men speaking out, the group marched along Main Street and through downtown Winona.

Participants of Take Back the Night begin the march through downtown Winona.
Students and community members begin the march around downtown Winona for the annual Take Back the Night event on Tuesday, April 9. The march is designed to help survivors reclaim parts of town that are typically unsafe after dark.

The marchers received mixed reactions from community members, some honked horns in support and shook hands as they passed, others shouted obscenities from apartment windows.

Take Back the Night 2019 is now in the past, but the group is hosting events through the next week, including a “Healthy Masculinity Panel” on April 23.

Mountainfilm travel-study gearing up for another round

In the week leading up to and including Memorial Day weekend, Winona State University’s film studies department will be hosting a travel-study in which students are given an opportunity to visit Telluride, Colorado, and experience the annual Mountainfilm Film Festival.

Not to be confused with the town’s other film festival, the aptly-named Telluride Film Festival, Mountainfilm is documentary-based, curating nonfiction stories that explore topics like the environment, culture, recreation, political and social justice issues and more.

This will be the second year in a row for the travel-study.

The students and professor of the 2018 travel-study to Telluride pose in the town [Photo supplied by J Paul Johnson]
English and film studies professor J Paul Johnson, who is co-leading the travel-study with former director of the Frozen River Film Festival Crystal Hegge, said he hopes students will learn from the festival and the course.

Johnson said a festival like Mountainfilm provides attendees with a chance to see a breadth of career opportunities.

“Novice-level understanding of film is typically predicated on people being aware of … somebody who’s hitting the headlines with big breakout blockbuster films …,” Johnson said. “What many people don’t understand … is that there are thousands and thousands of jobs in this industry at all levels …”

According to Johnson, Mountainfilm teaches people that film jobs burrow deeper than what is displayed on a teaser poster.

“There are people who are deeply invested in and working hard at the production of films,” Johnson said, listing grips, gaffers and sound technicians as examples, while also adding there are jobs in filmmaking that do not “necessarily involve being the director of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ or ‘Black Panther.’”

Another important concept students learn is even the best in the industry start at the bottom.

This concept was amplified during the 2018 travel-study to Mountainfilm when students had a chance-meeting with Barry Jenkins, director of the 2017 Academy Award winner for Best Picture “Moonlight.”

Johnson said Jenkins, like all students of film, started at the bottom and worked his way up.

“He remembered very well being at the start of his career,” Johnson said. “He remembered getting to go to a film festival for the first time, getting to meet a few directors, going up to a couple of others, tapping them on the shoulder, asking if he could have a minute of their time. He was superbly gracious with students and talking about that.”

Johnson said he believes those who attended the 2018 travel-study returned with a greater appreciation for filmmaking.

“I guarantee students came back awed … by that experience and really motivated by it,” Johnson said. “I think if you talk to any of them who went there last year, I’m pretty confident that that is what they’ll say.”

Film student Brynn Artley, a sophomore who took the travel-study in 2018, agreed with Johnson.

“I had a ton of fun, highly recommend the trip,” Artley said. “We saw a ton of different films in the span of three or four days. We wrote up reviews, we made blogs about it. It was just a lot of fun.”

While any student can register for the course, Johnson said film majors and minors are ultimately given precedence over others.

“We have a built-in selection system, in that it requires a 2.5 GPA,” Johnson said. “We do give priority to declared film studies majors and minors.”

Johnson added a vetting process would only take place if the course had more students than necessary.

Twelve are enrolled.

“We rank and evaluate applicants if we have more than 20,” Johnson said. “I would not at all be displeased if we had so many people wishing to go on this program that we had to make those kinds of decisions. That would be a good problem to have. But right now … I’m pretty comfortable with where we’re at.”

A caveat of the travel-study is the price.

Despite her taking the travel-study this year, Brittany Bluhm, a senior double majoring in English writing and film studies, discussed her past financial constraints and how they kept her from taking the course and attending the festival last year.

“I was hung up on rent and a lot of medical bills,” Bluhm said. “I was like, ‘There’s no way I can come up with $500 (the confirmation deposit) to stash toward the trip.’”

Senior Brittany Bluhm prepares for her first visit to Telluride by reading about the town

According to the brochure for 2020’s travel-study to Telluride, the cost fluctuates around $3,000, which includes tuition and student fees for the three credits linked to the program, as well as roundtrip airfare, transportation during the program, lodging, breakfasts and dinners, admission and event fees for all educational activities and the Study Abroad administrative fee.

The price is discounted, as well, as Bluhm said students taking the course will be volunteering with film screenings and other activities.

While she was unable to go last year, Bluhm said she understood the reasoning for the price.

“I think, because our film program is relatively new, I can understand why it’s maybe a little bit more expensive,” Bluhm said. “I anticipate the school will contribute more in the future as long as this trip keeps on going.”

According to Johnson, while more people would logically bring the price down, that would also mean jeopardizing the level of attention he is able to give in his instruction for the course.

“The price—the bottom line for the trip—would go down if we had 20 people instead of 12,” Johnson said. “I wouldn’t be opposed to having 16 students or even 20 as the cap … but it would be a different experience for me, a more complex one, and I don’t know if my students would get the individual attention that I know they will get with 12.”

Johnson said the price of the travel-study is lower than other travel-studies offered by the school.

“Any travel-study is an expense,” Johnson said. “Our travel-study to Mountainfilm is about half the expense or less than any of the international studies … Normally to travel abroad, earn three credits, over a period of one to two weeks, it is going to set a student back probably about $6,000. The price for our students, including the tuition, air travel, lodging, festival expenses, etcetera, is about $2,600.”

Johnson said he and co-leader Hegge do everything they can to keep the expenses as minimal as possible.

“That’s why, for instance, I cook,” Johnson said. “Because it’s a lot cheaper than having people eat-out in what is kind of a Tony-resort town where prices for that kind of thing are expensive.”

Cost aside, Johnson said he was satisfied with last year’s study and said he hopes this year’s is a repeat.

“There’s not really anything that we aim to do differently this coming year than we did last year,” Johnson said. “We just hope to replicate what we’ve done. It is a really nice experience for students to be able to do this … We have a really good partnership with Mountainfilm, and it’s a great destination for people to be at.”

“Resilience & Resistance: The Films of Spike Lee”

With Black History Month underway, Winona State University’s Film Studies will be partnering with the Department of Inclusion and Diversity to sponsor a film series showcasing select films by filmmaker Spike Lee.

The series, titled “Resilience & Resistance: The Films of Spike Lee,” begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 14, with the Academy Award-nominated feature for Best Picture and Best Director “BlacKkKlansman”.

Winona State English and film professor J Paul Johnson, whose course “Directors/Stars: Spike Lee” will be curating the series, commented on the reasoning behind choosing specifically Lee for a film series.

Professor J Paul Johnson helped jumpstart and will be overseeing the series throughout its duration.

“We want to celebrate Black History Month by looking at the career and accomplishments of one of the most celebrated, important and influential of all African American filmmakers across the 20th and 21st centuries,” Johnson said. “(Lee’s) work is especially timely given the success of ‘BlacKkKlansman.”

The films selected in addition to “BlacKkKlansman”—“Four Little Girls,” “Crooklyn,” “Do the Right Thing” and “Inside Man”—are, as Johnson describes, meant to showcase the range of Lee’s career, spanning from his political works like “BlacKkKlansman” and “Do the Right Thing,” to his exercise in mainstream thriller filmmaking with “Inside Man.”

“Lee really has a strong body of work,” Johnson said. “And that’s something that can hold up a whole film series.”

Talks for the series began shortly after the hiring of Inclusion and Diversity director Jonathan Locust, who Johnson was interested in partnering on programming for the school upon meeting him.

Regarding his thoughts on the series, Locust expressed excitement at the prospect of Lee being the subject matter of an entire film series.

“Spike Lee (is) one of my favorite directors, he’s also produced some of my favorite movies I grew up with,” Locust said.

Locust expressed excitement in regards to the partnership between Inclusion and Diversity and Film Studies.

“Finding out there was a class being taught (on Lee), and being asked to collaborate, it just made sense,” Locust said. “These are the types of things that Inclusion and Diversity wants to be involved in.”

Locust said the range of the films selected will help identify with a diverse audience.

“No matter who you are, you should be able to find something,” Locust said. “Even though the films are being shown during Black History Month, these aren’t necessarily Black History Month films.”

In regards to the purpose of the series, Johnson commented on the lack of showings for Spike Lee films in Winona.

“I think it would be great if our community could have the opportunity to take a look at once again and celebrate the incredible work he has done over his career,” Johnson said.

Locust himself voiced a lesson audiences should take away from the series as whole.

“I think there is a common perception that everybody in the industry is just white,” Locust said. “… it’s important for people to see that there are films being made by under-represented groups.”

Even though this series is the only planned partnership between the two groups, both Johnson and Locust expressed interest for Inclusion and Diversity and Film Studies to collaborate again in the future.

“I hope Film Studies can keep partnering with Inclusion and Diversity on either Black History Month programming or Women’s History Month programming in the future,” Johnson said. “That could be a pretty exciting avenue for us.”

As for Locust, he referred to one of the objectives of Inclusion and Diversity as the compass for a future partnership.

“The goal is you want to try to meet as many people and engulf yourself in different cultures,” Locust said. “We want to continue having the film series and working with Dr. Johnson and other faculty and asking, ‘Who are other directors we need to be looking at?”

In addition to “BlacKkKlansman,” the subsequent films in “Resilience & Resistance: The Films of Spike Lee” will be showing every Monday and Thursday at 7 p.m., respectively, until the end of February in the auditorium of Winona State’s Science Laboratory Center. All film admissions are free and open to the public.

Frozen River Film Festival Concludes 13th Season

In the frigid winters of Minnesota, a popular way to escape the freezing temperatures of the North is watching movies.

And Winona has its own film festival to do just that.

The Frozen River Film Festival is a documentary film festival held annually in Winona Minnesota.

The festival recently concluded its 13th season, drawing in about 3,000 attendees.

Frozen River included five days of events, Feb. 7 to Feb. 11, on the last day an award ceremony honored some of the most popular films.

Each year, the festival features documentary films whose subjects focus on local, regional and world importance.

Producer Karolo Aparicio answers questions about the film “Keepers of the Future.”

Festival director Sara Enzenauer said. “Planning for the festival is a year-long process. A lot of the heavy lifting takes place a few months before the actual dates, but there is a lot we are trying to do in the offseason.”

This year is Enzenauer’s first as festival director.

She started as an intern while sew was a Winona State University student, with a film minor, working her way up from intern to director.

Along with offering a wide array of films for moviegoers to watch, the festival included live music, artisan foods, and a vendor fair.

The atrium of the Science Laboratory Center at Winona State University where Frozen River attendees gathered.

Attendees had a choice of 70 films to attend in different venues across town including Winona 7 theatre, Winona State University, St. Mary’s University and Island City Brewing Company.

One patron,  Craig Thompson, said he has been attending since the festival started in 2005.

Thompson said he thought one of the best things about coming to the festival was learning about the variety of topics and issues the films covered.

Frozen River Film Festival is a nonprofit organization that uses donations and fundraising to pay for the films, guest lodgings, and venues.

According to Enzenauer, the budget for this year’s festival was $116,000.

“Our fiscal year starts in May and ends in Aril, “Enzenauer said, “so a lot of our spending takes place on promised funds, or what we think we are going to make in tickets. It’s a very interesting balancing act!”

In, Enzenauer’s first year as festival director was a success.

“We are all really pleased with how the festival went,” Enzenauer said. “I was worried that the numbers would drop quite a bit since it was a big transition year, but we were able to keep things pretty steady”.

Malinda Schmiechen, a regular patron of Frozen River, recalled how some films she has watched at the festival have changed her life.

“One year the theme was garbage,”Schmiechen said. There was a film about recycling that changed my life,” Schmiechen said.

One of the complaints heard at the festival was that it was impossible to see every film and that audiences had to pick which to attend.

Overall, the festival holds a sense of education and community to many of the patrons.

“I like to be challenged and learn about things,” Schmiechen said.

Enzenauer said Frozen River Film Festival takes all year to plan, so just days after this year’s festival has ended, she and the festival committee are already beginning to plan for Frozen River 2019.

“It was a little bare bones this year, and there is room for a lot of improvement,” said Enzenauer.

The festival committee plans to work more on their consistency, organization and communication for next year.

Winona State’s First Ever Ebony Night

The Winona State University African Students Association will be hosting the first ever Ebony Night on April 21st at 7 p.m. in Kryzsko Commons on the WSU campus.

ASA members Beke Eromosele and Nyalen Pidor are organizing the event and described it as a celebration of African and African American culture.

The night is going to be hosted by African comedian Chief Obi and

will include dance performances, a fashion show, various student performances, a red carpet photo shoot, east and west African food and more.

Eromosele and Pidor said they are excited not only about how much fun they are going to have, but for how important an event like this is for a university without much diversity.

“It’s really important to have,” Pidor said. “It celebrates a culture that is ignored at our school because we have a very small demographic of black students.”

Pidor said an event like this will make that demographic feel special and appreciated.

Both Eromosele and Pidor said it will be cool to showcase their culture to anyone who would like to come.

“It will be cool to show people our customs and our traditions,” Pidor said. “It’s a fun way of educating people who don’t know much about our culture.”

Nyalen Pidor (Right) and Beke Eromosele (Left) said they have become close friends through ASA.

Eromosele said most people don’t know a lot but would like to know more and this is a great chance for them to do so.

Pidor and Eromosele said they urge anyone to come to the event especially if they are not African or African American.

ASA is an inclusive club, according to Pidor and Eromosele.

The event is meant for all groups of people.

“When we were planning it, we had some worries about white people feeling like, ‘I don’t know if I should come or not,’” Eromosele said. “We made it known that white people and other cultures and other races can come.”

WSU’s Director of Inclusion and Diversity, Dr. Johnathan Locust, said he’s thrilled about the event and thinks it can do a lot of good things for the university.

“It promotes Winona to different segments of people who may not have been looking at Winona State University in the first place,” Locust said. “We want everybody to talk to everybody.”

Locust said he believes the power in conversation between different groups of people is what can bring those groups closer and Ebony night is going to contribute to that kind of unity.

Winona State student Eric Mullen is not a member of ASA but plans on going to Ebony night.

“I have a decent understanding of European cultures but zero knowledge of African cultures,” Mullen said. “This would be a good introductory point for me to learn more about that.”

Mullen described this event as a ‘stay-cation’ – instead of traveling to these countries to experience the culture, an event like this allows students like him to experience it first-hand at home.

The budget for the event is around $13,000 the club received from Student Senate, UPAC and other private organizations according to Eromosele.

Tickets are $7 for students and $10 for the general admission.

“Have fun and enjoy cultures that you wouldn’t normally experience,” Pidor said. “It’s gonna be a great night.”