Politics and the Environment: The Good, Bad, Complicated, and Promising

The Good Fact #1: The Clean Air Act was passed in 1970 with a unanimous vote from the Senate and only one nay vote from the House. This is just one example of successful environmental efforts that crossed party lines. Fact #2: The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) was established during Richard Nixon’s (R) presidency. Fact #3: George H.W. …

Two worlds in tandem: moving from the past to the present

February 8, 2017, would have been my dad’s 66th birthday. He has been gone for nearly 8 years. I have been thinking a lot lately about things that come in twos. Things set in opposition that are necessary parts of a whole. Left versus right, male versus female, north versus south, conservative versus liberal. Things …

The benefits of keeping a journal: paper time machines and thoughts from the soul

I keep a hand-written journal, to log the often boring, redundant, silly, serious, terrible, hopeful, vulnerable thoughts that I have. My current journal is handmade and has a sister that I gave to one of my best friends back in 2009. Since she and I have never gotten to see each other much, I decided …

“Only a fool trips on what’s behind him”

“Only a fool trips on what’s behind him.” I had a thrilling, amazing, tumultuous, nerve-wracking, at times unpredictable, unforgettable, educational, creative, and fulfilling 2016. Full of growing pains and gains, a few ugly cries, a lot of swearing, and a lot of laughter. I celebrated two years outside of the “corporate world” and of working …

Our Stories Share the Same Roots: A Community Mural Project

It’s been a really good summer, in many ways. Full of laughter and play. Weekend trips. Camping. Outdoor excursions and inside jokes. Crackling fires. Summer pies. At the same time, it has been an emotionally tumultuous year–for lots of us, I imagine. Maybe election years are always this way, and there’s a lot at stake with …

Our Relationship with Power: Why It Matters & What We Can Learn

Did you miss my show at Arts + Literature Laboratory? Here’s a recap of why I chose to focus on power and a video of the story I told at the reception. Jenie Gao | Our Relationship with Power, video by Midwest Story Lab One of the long-term themes in my artwork is relationships, between people, between nature …

Lessons of departure: the heart and mind of a rural town in a tourists’ economy

Lanesboro Arts Center is beautiful. The space is bright, open, welcoming, and full of activity. They regularly host artists and writers to use the space as a getaway to focus on projects, as well as workshops and seminars for the community. When the directors offered to show my work there, they also kindly took the time to …