Joyce Award Winners

Marlena Myles with Franconia Sculpture Park



Marlena Myles with Franconia Sculpture Park are one of the five winners of the 2023 Joyce Awards, which lift up collaborations between artists of color and arts and community organizations throughout the Great Lakes region.

“Augmented Reality is the perfect metaphor for Native presence: Dakota peoples' histories and stories are here, invisible at the moment to many; yet folks only need to look with new eyes at the deeper powers held here,” said Myles. “This project will bring together voices from the Dakota communities and restore them to the land, making them accessible by art and audio so that all can learn from our stories an Indigenous reverence we have towards Grandmother Earth.” –Marlena Myles

Spawning Indigenous Reverence: Dakota Augmented Reality Project by multimedia artist Marlena Myles (Spirit Lake Dakota/Mohegan/Muscogee) will use augmented reality to create public artworks throughout Franconia Sculpture Park’s 50 acres of outdoor museum space that restore Dakota stories, language, and art to the land. The project will include sustained collaboration with both urban and rural Native American communities who live in and surrounding the Twin Cities, combining recorded oral histories with geolocation and 3D animation to share Native stories and create immersive encounters with animals, plants, and Dakota spirits tied to specific sites throughout the park. Overlaid on the existing contemporary art installations and grounds of the park, Spawning Indigenous Reverence explores the possibilities of augmented reality as a medium for Native art that can build connections to the land without interrupting or damaging it, inviting visitors to explore a layered tapestry of shared history, present, and future.

About Marlena Myles

Marlena Myles (b. 1985) is a self-taught Native American (Spirit Lake Dakota/Mohegan/Muscogee) artist located in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her art brings modernity to Indigenous history, languages and oral traditions while using the land as a teacher. Growing up on her traditional Dakota homelands in the Twin Cities, she enjoys using her artwork to teach Minnesotans of all backgrounds the Indigenous history of the land. Her professional work includes children’s books, augmented reality, murals, fabrics, and animations. She has shown her work in fine art galleries such as the Minneapolis Institute of Art, The Museum of Russian Art, Red Cloud Heritage Center and the Minnesota Museum of American Art, among others. In 2021, she opened her own Dakota publishing company called Wíyouŋkihipi (We Are Capable) Productions to create a platform that educates and honors the culture, language, and history of Dakota people.

About Franconia Sculpture Park

Franconia Sculpture Park is the pre-eminent, artist-centered sculpture park in the Midwest. Founded in 1996, Franconia provides physically and intellectually wide-open spaces that inspire new ways of thinking through access to contemporary sculpture, installation, and land art. Located in the scenic St. Croix River Valley of Minnesota, Franconia operates a 50-acre outdoor museum, active artist residency program, and a depth and breadth of community arts programming for a diverse and engaged public. Franconia believes that art has the power to change the world. The organization cultivates critical dialogue between artists and audiences; supports artists through the production and presentation of new, experimental work; and educates artists and audiences of tomorrow. Franconia applies creative solutions to the problems of today and tomorrow through the vehicle of contemporary sculpture. Franconia creates bold programming that is ambitious, innovative, and responsive to the wants and needs of artists and its community. Moreover, Franconia aims to create a welcoming, inviting space for all visitors to learn more about art, the environment, and the changing world we live in.

Concept mock-up of Spawning Indigenous Reverence: Dakota Augmented Reality Project by Marlena Myles. Image courtesy of the artist.

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