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Concordia Language Villages News & Events Blog

Bridging the Gap Between Art and Language

Every year, Medicine Lake in Plymouth, Minn., hosts the Art Shanty Projects, “a four-week exhibition that is part sculpture park, part artist residency and part social experiment.” In 2010, staff members in the Nordic villages created the Nordic Immersion Village Art Shanty, now permanently installed at Skogfjorden. This year, they have created the Nordic Village Bridge Art Shanty, an exercise in creating myths.

Children get to play on and under the bridge, re-enact the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff, and receive a Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish or Danish name while learning a little bit of one of those languages. Britta Iben Walker, a staff member at Skovsøen, gave out Danish names to visitors on Saturday, Jan. 14, which was Danish Day.

“I asked some kids if they had heard of Concordia Language Villages,” Britta said, “and they couldn’t believe I could speak English.”

Valerie Magna Borey, staff member at Barnehage og Skogfjorden, the Norwegian Pre-K program, has been instrumental in setting up the bridge. Between organizing and building the bridge, she has had her hands full.

Saturday was the opening day for the Art Shanties, so they were still setting up a few things while some kids ran around and scared each other playing trolls and goats over the bridge. The three goat costumes hanging on the shanty were used a few times as adults and children re-enacted the story in Danish or Norwegian.

Magna would like to convey her thanks on behalf of everyone working on the Nordic Village Bridge to Tony Frattalone for help with transportation and Gliddens Limo for providing build space. For more information on the Nordic Village Bridge, please check out their web site and visit Medicine Lake.

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