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WELCOME

I’m so glad you found us! This is the blog-home for Minivan Nation. Our community is forming in many ways — some of us found each other years ago, and others are making new bonds every day through sharing the road, an evening around a campfire, a boondocking campground, or the waiting room at the local tire repair shop.

Minivan Nation is here to help us be more connected. Be sure to see the Minivanifesto! (Don’t worry, it is very brief. It’s mini, after all.)

Oh! And you don’t need a minivan to be part of Minivan Nation. All you need is a genuine interest in how people are moving around the country, having a *slightly* different life than people who have a driveway they pull into each evening. Know what I mean? We’ll explain the hows and the whys and answer a lot of questions. (Like “What is that burning smell when I go down hill?” For example.)

Stay in touch. We’re going to be meeting each other soon.

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Lake Superior Ore Boat

On this brilliant clear day in Duluth, Minnesota, I lucked upon the ore boat coming through the channel. It takes over half an hour for this to occur, but you can see it transition here in just a little over a minute.

These are the sights and sounds of the #MinivanNation life. Enjoy.

Suzanna

Community Plus Art

Kalamazoo iota moment

Greetings, Earthlings!

Today let’s catch up with some of the journey of my #Minivanifesto — murals in communities I have visited in the last few weeks.

John Grider’s powerful mural in Duluth

While I prepared for the drive through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, across the Mackinaw Bridge and down to Flint, Michigan, I had the great joy of hanging out here and there with John Grider as he brought forth this powerful mural for Adeline’s new creation of community offerings in Duluth, Minnesota. I could just walk down the alley a couple of blocks to see the day’s progress. Heaven.

In Ashland, Wisconsin, I found many murals which were not only historical, but very moving. The faces of the individuals in these block-long paintings certainly look real to me. Indeed they are — the faces of military men and women who lived in the area.

In Ironwood, Michigan, all these faces of miners who worked in the iron mines stare out at you. It might seem disturbing, given what we know about the treacherous effects of mining, but their faces show strong, capable men who seem proud to do their work. I wondered, as I stood taking it in, where we find this depth of camaraderie today.

These community murals bind the community together as only a powerful art piece can. Beyond that, the casual visitor also becomes part of the community’s heartbeat by acknowledging and sometimes sharing this rich history.

Flint, Michigan

What’s going on in Flint, Michigan deserves its own post — or three. For now, here’s one I found while looking for another mural. That’s one experience you can have visiting Flint today. You can also take a tour of the 50+ murals already completed in their 100 mural public art project. Flint is very rich with modern culture, drawing on its diversity and its vision for the future.

TOTEM BOOKS, FLINT, MICHIGAN

One of my favorite places in the entire world is Totem Books, in Flint. My time there was terribly short, and I don’t know when I’ll be in Flint again, but Totem Books will surely lure me back.

We have Ironwood and its brethren to thank for “The Metal That Made America,” (book by Brooke Stoddard), and we have Flint and its brethren to thank for our decades of automotive freedom on these long and beautiful American roads. By traveling the country in a minivan (or whatever matches your lifestyle), we can revisit what built us, learn from communities who are transitioning into new identities, and possibly even discover ourselves in the context of these times.

The five words of the “Minivanifesto” are: Mobility, Community, Diversity, Gifting and Art. What would you like to find along the road?

Looking forward,

Suzanna and iota

Going to Flint

Friendlies! It’s finally time to go to Flint, Michigan, to see the explosion of art happening. Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/flintproject/

I’ve waited a long time, it seems, but the up side is there are over FIFTY NEW MURALS completed on their way to meet their goal of 100 new murals for the city! Here is just one of these beautiful, amazing Flint jewels:


Isaiah Lattimore-Balicki: the Jane Avenue Garden mural

In the meantime I am tending the growing palette of this wonderful new mural being painted on the side of Adeline’s building here in Duluth, Minnesota. It will be finished in the next couple of weeks. Look at the amazing pink wolves!!

The interior of Adeline’s has also been remodeled, and I’ll be at her celebratory opening August 3rd. Her shop is what I call a cultural oasis. I’ll explain more of that later.

I have started moving my Art Atlas project, which is now under the umbrella of Minivan Nation, over to this site. There’s a LOT of content to bring over and it will take some time. Stick around!

As always,

looking forward.

Suzanna