The Lower Phalen Creek Project is hosting “Painting in the Park” 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday at Pig’s Eye Regional Park — known as Čhokán Tánka in Dakota — as a way to connect members of the community to the site and environmental justice issues surrounding the area.
The event will consist of a short walk in the park to learn about its history and a watercolor painting lesson from artist and community activist Kiki Sonnen. There is no registration fee to attend and those interested can register online at https://bit.ly/3gH76HM.
“Art can capture feelings and emotions that you can’t always express in words and it can capture the beauty of places,” Keeli Siyaka, the environment justice educator and organizer at the Lower Phalen Creek Project, said Wednesday. “That’s one really incredible thing about art and why it’s important to be able to relate environmental justice through art too because it can evoke a sense of hope. Hope is what keeps us pushing forward, this vision of what things could be and art can capture all of that.”
Founded in 1997 by community activists, the Lower Phalen Creek Project is a native-led, East Side St. Paul, environmental conservation nonprofit working to engage people in the community and to encourage them to care for the natural places and sacred sites. The project includes the East Side River District from Lake Phalen to the Mississippi River.
The Dakhóta Oyáte people have lived by the waters of the Mississippi River for thousands of years. Kapósia, one well-known village, was located both east and west of the Mississippi near Pig’s Eye Regional Park. The park is currently nestled in an industrial area and one of the Lower Phalen Creek Project’s goals is to connect the community to the space and to raise awareness to get people invested in protecting the park.