Karen Goulet

Karen E. Goulet is a White Earth Ojibwe Band member and is also from Metis, and Finnish people. She is a practicing artist, poet, community organizer and educator. She is the Project Director of the Miikanan Gallery at the Watermark Art Center in Bemidji, Minnesota.  Karen received her BA from The Evergreen State College, MFA in Sculpture from The University of Wisconsin – Madison, and MEd from University of Minnesota Duluth. She is a recent recipient of Minnesota State Arts Board Grants, Waterers Fellowship, and Region 2 Arts Council Anishinaabe Arts Fellowship. She was a pilot artist for the Big River Continuum Project.  Her life path has always been a creative path and she has dedicated her professional and personal life to making, sharing, and encouraging artistic practice.

Artist Statement

  Being an artist is a way of life. Loving water is part of my journey. I am committed to contributing in my own way to the collective efforts of those working to make change on the planet.  

  Water is my first love, first memories, and my medicine. It has really defined who I am as a person and influenced so many of my choices in life, consciously and unconsciously. I feel fortunate to be able to share creatively the value of water. This body of work is like a river with tributaries of different series and times converging into an exhibit that makes visible the connections that are always with me in my work. Through materials,  process, and symbols I work to convey what is beautiful, challenging and concerning to me as a human on the planet. I think of my ancestors when I work. I am also honoring friends, evoking memory, and expressing my hope that we can make change that will secure a future for the ones we have brought in and the ones who will arrive after we are gone.

Southern Comfort – Installation 2021

Artists Karen E Goulet and Kane Goulet

I was able to work with experimental papermaking as part of my residency at A Studio in the Woods, in May of 2021. My son stopped to visit for a few days; we were able to create a variety of paper, using materials including local wild plants, cotton, and hemp fiber. This ‘healing blanket’ was conceptualized out of the process of spending time with my son and sharing creative space and energy for the first time in several years. We were able to talk about many things including our love and concern for the environment and its future.

This work was one of several created as a pilot artists for The Big River Continuum: an artist residency exchange that amplifies the interconnectedness of cultures, research, water and land through collaboration between multimedia artist Karen Goulet (White Earth Ojibwe)from the Mississippi headwaters region, and social practice artist Monique Verdin (Houma) from the Delta. Over a period of three years, the artists exchanged visits and ideas about ways in which the headwaters and the delta of the Misi-ziibi (Big River, Ojibwe) have been in conversation with each other for thousands of years.