Camila Leiva mural

Camila Leiva's process includes sharing knowledge about plant medicine and vegetable growing. Her work in Red Wing will involve Latinx, Prairie Island Indian Community and community gardeners. 

A Minneapolis muralist will spend May in Red Wing through the new First Step Public Artist Residency Program at the Anderson Center.  

Camila Leiva was chosen for the inaugural public artist residency, which “aims to serve as a catalyst for social action and relationship building in Red Wing,” according to Anderson Center Development Director Adam Wiltgen, who also coordinates the residency program. 

Leiva, a public artist from Minneapolis, will work with community residents to design and create “Plant Wisdom” murals. 

Born in Santiago, Chile, during the final years of military dictatorship there, Leiva is the daughter of a Minnesota mother and a Chilean father. A self-described bridge-builder, she identifies with “Nepantla,” a concept from Chicana feminism that describes people who exist between multiple worlds, Wiltgen said. She brings that aspect of building community to her art. 

While in Red Wing, Leiva will work with a committee of Latinx, Prairie Island and Red Wing community gardeners. Her process encompasses storytelling and knowledge-sharing about plant medicine and vegetable growing. 

Together they will create four 5-foot-by-5-foot murals to be painted by community residents May 22-23. The panels will be temporarily installed in “places of significance,” yet to be determined. 

To learn more about Leiva and her work, go online to

About the residency program

The residency program, which was limited last year due to the Covid 19 pandemic, is back this year with health and safety measures in place.  

Four artists at a time will spend two or four weeks on campus from May through October. Again this year, the month of June has been designated for Deaf artists. 

Residents will include visual artists, writers, scholars, musicians and performers -- both people of “exceptional promise” and artists who have demonstrated accomplishment. 

In addition to working on their projects, they also will engage with the community. During May, most of the community service activities will be in local schools.  

Ruth Nerhaugen is a retired Republican Eagle reporter who occasionally writes stories. People may reach her through the newsroom at rtnews@orourkemediagroup.

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