did you hear the news on September 11, 2001?
a few months, I re-lived the experience of September 11 with twenty-one
Iowa artists, writers, and musicians who were selected for Beyond
9-11: The Art of Renewal in Iowa. From a conversation with a loved
one, to a television morning show, to a radio in an Austin, Texas
restaurantno matter the source of the news of the terrorism,
these artists experienced many of the same feelings: disbelief,
shock, fear, confusion, panic, sorrow, anger, horror, nausea, uncertainty.
had lived in or near New York City or Washington at some point in
their lives, or currently had family or friends or acquaintances
there. Some lost people they knew; more often, their loved ones
had close encounters.
some, the events of that day and the aftermath transported them
back to earlier traumas in their own lives and in our country's
lifethe deaths of family members; the Gulf War, the Vietnam
War, the Cold War; assassinations. The grief comes flooding back.
artist was deeply affected in his or her own way. And they eventually
responded to those events with their creativity.
I heard about the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs' American
Spirit Project grants, stories of the unifying response of people
around the country and the world had been displaced by a bombardment
of images of American flags, words of simple-minded violence and
retaliation from the top echelons of government to the common citizen,
of destruction and misery here and in Afghanistan. This media blitz
left me in despair. When I saw the title of the grant, I hoped to
construct a different definition of American Spiritthe spirit
of hope and creativity and renewal, of diversity of viewpoints and
encouragement of debate, of seeking alternatives. After receiving
a grant, in the call for entries, I encouraged new and different
images, sounds, words, in the hope of showing this healthy spirit.*
selected artists and their works have fulfilled those expectations.
They provide us with a diversity of backgrounds, creativity, inspiration,
and thought as expressed through their creative work and in the
personal interviews I conducted in February and March 2002.
time to browse the artist pageslook, read, listenand
let the work touch you. I hope you will connect to at least one
thing you experience here.
the hope of greater awareness, understanding, and hope...
Beyond 9-11 Coordinator
for entries went to nearly 700 artists, writers, musicians, and
dancers, as well as to community centers and other venues all across
Iowa. Fifty-seven artists from 27 communities around Iowa submitted
105 entries for consideration. Three consultants, one in each genre
(Cindy Mercati, Wendy Sontag, and Ellen R.), reviewed and rated
the artworks. Twenty-one artists (and 26 works) were finally selected
based on the rankings.