Novelist Sarah Stonich, painter Karlyn Eckman and sculptor Elizabeth Belz will be the Artists at Pine Needles for the summer of 2017.

Natural history artists and writers are offered two- to four-week residencies each summer in the Pine Needles cabin owned by the St. Croix Watershed Research Station in Marine on St. Croix.

Sarah Stonich (Photo by Shelly Mosman)
Sarah Stonich (Photo by Shelly Mosman)

Stonich, of Minneapolis, is the author of several novels, including “The Ice Chorus” and “These Granite Islands,” and the memoir “Shelter: Off The Grid in the Mostly Magnetic North.” Her novel “Vacationland” was a Minnesota Book Award finalist. First in a trilogy set at a remote resort in northern Minnesota, “Vacationland” will be followed in 2018 by “Laurentian Divide.” Stonich will continue work on the final piece of this trilogy, “Watershed,” during her residency.

Belz, of Grand Marais, Minn., primarily works with metal, fiber, printmaking and basketweaving. She has studied at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, John C. Campbell Folk School, North House Folk School and Penland School of Crafts. During her residency, she hopes to create a series of sculptures made of forged and fabricated steel with added natural elements, inspired by the landscape at Pine Needles.

Eckman, of St. Paul, paints in the genres of landscape, historical and nautical art, working in oil and watercolor painting and metal-point drawing. Eckman, who has also been a professor in the Department of Forest Resources at the University of Minnesota, said she will use the Pine Needles residency to reflect on the intersection of her two professional lives. She plans to create drawings and paintings featuring historical and natural sites in the St. Croix watershed.

Since 2001, the Pine Needles program has provided 40 artists and writers dedicated time and space to pursue their art. The cabin was owned by James Taylor Dunn, a noted historian of the St. Croix River Valley who wanted the property to be used as a scholarly and artistic retreat. The St. Croix Watershed Research Station is the environmental research department of the Science Museum of Minnesota.

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