Take a look at the stories of Otter Tail County told by community members who know them best. Join us for two themed virtual events showcasing projects from the Otter Tail County Story Mapping Project and presented by the story mapping partners leading the projects. 

The first event will feature two projects focused on lake and cabin culture through Otter Tail County with the second showcasing foodways in the Pelican Rapids community garden and Latinx communities. 

Both events are expected to run an hour and a half and will feature presentations followed by short Q+A sessions, as well as virtual breakout rooms where attendees will be encouraged to share their own personal stories with the subject matter from throughout Otter Tail County. Stories shared may be collected by Rethos for inclusion in the digital map of the Otter Tail County Story Mapping Project unless participants choose otherwise.

Lake connections is theme Oct. 22 

The first event, Water and Wood: Stories from the Lakes and Cabins of Otter Tail County, will take place on October 22 from 4-6 p.m. 

The first event features two projects focusing on lakes and cabins from Steve Henning and Jan Smith.

Steve Henning’s project, “The Wadena Beach Story,” will be a documentary exploring the families who settled around Wadena beach with a particular focus of those on the north shore of Blanche Lake. His documentary will explore the history of seven families and how they came to settle around the lake.

“Otter Tail County’s 1,000 lakes (and more ponds) Have Stories to Tell” by Jan Smith will collect stories from those who use lakes throughout Otter Tail County for a variety of reasons. By placing story collection boxes around Otter Tail County Jan hopes to elicit reflections on the relationships to lakes that so many, young and old, share throughout the county.

Foodways of Otter Tail is Nov. 18 

The second event, Taste of Community: Foodways of Otter Tail County, will take place on November 18 from 4-6 pm. 

The second event will feature two projects exploring varying foodways throughout the county.

Gardens featured by Lake Lida resorter-photographer Solinger

Jon Solinger’s “Common Ground: Community Garden Portraits” spotlights the farmers working the soil at the Pelican Rapids community garden. This multi-faceted project includes photographic portraits taken of the gardeners along with their own hand-drawn maps of individual garden plots and interviews about how and why they raise their chosen produce. These stories will tell the ways that diverse people use food and cultivate soil to satisfy our universal need for nourishment.

Latin  American food traditions will include immigration 

“Nourishing Narratives: A Latinx Foodmap of Community Comida” by Kandace Creel Falcón will result in a multi-media foodmap exploring the tradition of food for Latinx people throughout Otter Tail County. Nourishing Narratives will examine foodways across three tiers: restaurants and workers, workers in meat processing plants, and the personal connection to home cooking in rural Minnesota. Across these three tiers, Kandace will collect stories and media that are compiled into a project website to visually represent the places and people across Otter Tail County. Additionally, a series of paintings will be created drawing from the geography, symbolism, and stories collected by those interviewed. 

Kandace expects the collected experiences to dovetail with stories of immigration as well as the ways community is constructed and communicated through food.

Story Project has been year in making 

The Otter Tail County Story Mapping Project is a pilot project by Rethos: Places Reimagined in partnership with the Otter Tail County Historical Society and Springboard for the Arts.

Please visit rethos.org/classes to register for each presentation. 

For questions about this project, please contact Tyler McDaniel at tyler@rethos.org or Emily Kurash Casey at emily@rethos.org or 507-205-2335.

This project was made possible in part by the people of Minnesota through a grant funded by an appropriation to the Minnesota Historical Society from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.