The Storied Maple

Sheila Novak

M.F.A. '25, Cornell AAP

Sheila Novak (she/they, b. 1990) is an interdisciplinary artist and curator living and working on Gayog̱hó:nǫ́ (NY), Massa-adchu-es-et (MA), and Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (MN) land. Currently enrolled at Cornell University, Sheila is pursuing her Master of Fine Arts Degree in Visual Creative Arts.

Sheila’s honors include the Creative Community Fellowship with National Art Strategies (2018) and Artist Residencies with Pao Art Center (2021), the Urbano Project (2020), Hennepin County Medical Center (2015-2017), and Holden Village (2014). Sheila received her B.A. in Studio Art and Environmental Science from St. Olaf College (2012).

Join our durational storytelling session over boiling pots of maple sap on a spring afternoon. Discussing topics ranging from indigenous knowledge to biology, invited storytellers include local indigenous leaders, tree physiologists, artists, historians, maple farmers, food scientists and more.

While reducing the sap to syrup together, storytellers from a range of backgrounds and experiences will share their understandings of the Maple tree. Additionally, members of the public are invited to join in with their own maple stories and to learn about the process of creating maple syrup. As we stir the pot together, we will boil down ideas and sap, creating syrup by the end of the day for all to enjoy.

A culinary experience uniquely indigenous to this land, maple syrup is also a cultural experience deeply rooted in indigenous knowledge. The Maple is a site of action, expression, conflict, and connection as we examine both the gifts of the tree alongside the legacies of colonization, Indigenous land dispossession, and cultural resilience. While honoring the thousands of years in which Maples have provided syrup to people in this region, this participatory event invites our collective inquiry into all things Maple.

The Storied Maple is family-friendly and open-house style, so you can come and go as you please. The main event is on Sunday, March 24 from 1–4 pm, and will be followed by a community potluck 5 pm. Stick around to eat some fresh syrup! This event is hosted outdoors to allow for a campfire environment. Please RSVP to get event updates.

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