“I’ve been coming to Belwin for years and never sat within this forest. It’s beautiful!“– Guest at Music in the Trees
Belwin recognizes the arts’ ability to bridge divides, open doors, and make the intangible more easily understood. Since 2015, our Arts, Culture, and Ecology program has been doing just that. You’re invited to join us in engaging deeply with nature through performance events, hands-on artmaking, and our Artist in Residence program. Through arts and culture, we can inspire even more people to treasure and care for our natural spaces.
Annual Arts, Culture, and Ecology Events
EcoArts at Belwin’s Bison Festival
Every May, our Bison Festival celebrates the release of the herd onto the prairie. Join the fun with live music and hands-on art making inspired by and created with the natural elements surrounding you.
Music in the Trees
Each August, this music festival celebrating forest ecology and performance feature musicians playing from tree stands in a four-acre pine grove. In 2022, each day ended with a fully accessible performance featuring interactive dance and music from different traditions present in our region. To see past lineups, look at our old blog posts here and here.
Music in the Trees is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. Additional support for this event comes from the St. Croix Valley Foundation.
Winter Solstice Bonfire
This beloved event hosts night hikes, a warming house, and an impressive bonfire. Each year the Solstice features different kinds of storytelling, such as the seasonal Ojibwe stories from Ikidowin Youth Theater. Last year, the event featured Irish music and storytelling from Minneapolis duo, The Mac and Cheese Band and Imniza Ska Dakota Drum Group. “Winter is the time for telling stories.“
Artists in Residence
Started in 2016, Belwin’s Artist in Residence program offers creatives the opportunity to learn from and be inspired by the natural processes that take place on Belwin’s 1,500 acres. Artists learn about the multitude of species, the importance of healthy ecosystems, and the purpose of land restoration from Belwin’s staff and have time to focus on their creative process.
This year Belwin had two artists in residence who were chosen through a partnership with the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery.
Past Artists in Residence:
Tomás Alvarez, photographer (2023)
Whitney Terrill, multimedia artist (2023)
Tom Bierlein, sculptor, builder, gardener (2021)
Rory Wakemup, visual artist (2019)
Tamsie Ringler, sculptor (2016-17)
Steve Heitzeg, composer (2016)
Laurie Allmann, poet (2016)
Visit Art at Belwin
“Roaming Stone,” a long-term art installation by Chicago sculptor David Sprecher, can currently be viewed at Tallgrass Trails. “Roaming Stone” was constructed at Belwin Conservancy as part of 4Ground: Midwest Land Art Biennial in 2022. The sculpture features imprints of the prairie and hooves from Belwin’s own bison herd.
To read more about how “Roaming Stone” was made, click here.
To plan your visit, click here.
The installation of “Roaming Stone” was made possible in part by support from the St. Croix Valley Foundation. 4Ground: Midwest Land Art Biennial is a program of Franconia Sculpture Park. For more information, visit 4groundbiennial.org.