Catching Up with Meghan Rowswell

Picking up materials at the Quindaro site

I’ve been blessed in the last year to work with some incredible artists on interesting and challenging projects. It took a little bit to get going the first six months but then things just really picked up in a big way. Now I’m involved in something art related at least every month. Which is fabulous because I’m motivated to continue making work and working towards my goals.

Last year, I joined a group of three other artists to form the PolyArtery Collective. Jen Appell is a musician, Jillian Youngbird is an installation/performance artist, and Justin Border is a graphic designer/painter and together we combined our artistic powers to create an immersive art experience about Quindaro. The installation will show topography of Kansas and Missouri with a river of sticks and yarn down the center. Included will be infographics from Wyandotte Counties H.E.A.T. report and a soundscape including clips from the local choir. Quindaro has a rich and important history because of its connections to the Wyandotte nation and location on the underground railroad. Today the area has fallen on tough times because of redlining and is a marginalized community in crisis.

Our project is to bring awareness of the history of the area and to help raise money for the Old Quindaro Museum. The installation will travel to locations throughout the Kansas City area. Our first event will be at the Quindaro Symposium April 20-21st.  You can find out more about our project at WeavingtheRiver.com.

I have learned so much working on this project! We wrote and applied for three grants and were awarded two. It has been an eye-opening experience learning about institutionalized racism and its long-lasting effects on communities.  This project has made me confront some very complicated issues like cultural appropriation. We are lucky that all of our skills within the group balance each other out and we have been able to take on this giant project.

This has been the year of collaborations because I also worked on a show in Wyoming with Maria Rose Wimmer about quantum entanglement. I created four fiber-based installations and she did twelve black and white drawings. I went on a two-month long trip to Wyoming to babysit the artwork and teach workshops. It was almost like being on an artist residency. I created work for my upcoming shows about the human body, spent way too much time in thrift stores gathering supplies, and worked on all my professional stuff.

This summer I actually did an artist residency at the Missouri State Fair for two days. It was a lot of fun talking to people and showing them what I do. I had a sculpture that was unfinished and I felt like it was missing something. I would ask people what it needed as they stopped to watch me work. The conversation would always start, “Now I don’t know nothing about art…” , then they would rattle off this really astute observation. The fair makes me smile with the variety of people and the projects. They are allowing me to come back and do another longer residency this summer the first week of the fair. I’m going to be constructing a giant installation on the ceiling above the Top 50 Show. I’m nervous and excited.

It has been a wild ride and I’m looking forward to this year. So many big things are happening! I have a show coming up in May at KCAC Snap Space called “Fondle Friendly”. The show is soft sculptures based on anatomical illustrations that the audience can touch and arrange. You can find out more about all the projects I’m working on at my website www.MadMegh.com or on Instagram @MadMegh.

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