The Trail is a whimsical, possibly mysterious short inspired by late night episodic-serial TV watching. It is a celebration of Sitka Trail Works, a nonprofit that, along with its partners, has literally helped change the ground we walk on. The trails are places I walk solo to get exercise, clear my head, or stir up new ideas. I go with family or join friends, dogs and babies, discussing the serious, the mundane and the sublime. Rain or sun, cross country teams run, senior hiking clubs and people with disabilities visit on field trips to walk and picnic. The trails are home to berry pickers, bears, slugs and, as needed, crews with chain saws and axes. The invitation to respond creatively to the mission of a Rasmuson Foundation grantee in Sitka was also an opportunity to collaborate with Regal Cheese, a local band, game to haul their instruments into the woods.
Ellen Frankenstein is a filmmaker, community artist, media educator and director of the nonprofit, artchange, inc. Ellen's director/producer credits include the award-winning PBS broadcast documentaries, Carved from the Heart, No Loitering and Eating Alaska. Frankenstein's photography projects have ranged from exploring the underside of adventure to digging into the everyday life in war zones and barrios. Filmmaking and photography residences, fellowships and artist in schools projects have taken her from Barbados to Lexington, Los Angeles, Kake and Savoonga. Inspired both by observations of kids and their relationship to the natural and digital worlds, and interpretations of her last name, Frankenstein is developing a multimedia project about our relationship to technology. Ellen is also working on a film about master weaver Delores Churchill, while stepping her toes into a community storytelling, radio and mapping project. Away from work, Frankenstein has helped sail a small wooden boat to New Zealand. She tends her husband as he dives for sea cucumbers and tries to grow tomatoes, basil and other home-grown foods in often soggy Sitka. To learn more about her work go to www.artchangeinc.org and www.efclicks.net.