James Culleton: Dear Margery

James Culleton:
Dear Margery

September 24 - January 15, 2017


Open House and Concert at
McCanna House Artist-in-Residence
Saturday, September 24, 3 - 5 pm
McCanna, North Dakota
followed by
James Culleton: Dear Margery
opening at the North Dakota Museum of Art at 7 pm

Funded by Dr. William Wosick through the
North Dakota Museum of Art, Art Makers Series.

Join us and Winnipeg artist James Culleton to celebrate the completion of Dear Margery, his three-year investigation into the history of McCanna House and its owner, the late Margery McCanna. Tour McCanna House at McCanna, ND, beginning with a 3 pm reception. At 4 pm, James Culleton and his sometimes local band will perform songs from the albums “Dear Margery” and "Vanishing Days,” composed by Culleton. The lyrics in “Dear Margery” are drawn from letters between Margery and her Uncle Charlie whereas the lyrics for "Vanishing Days” respond to the composer’s research into the Bonanza wheat growing time. CDs are available for purchase.

Following the McCanna reception and concert, there will be a 7 pm opening at the North Dakota Museum of Art of Culleton’s drawings, paintings and sculpture plus historical items used for the video shoot. Culleton and his band will entertain again.

In 2013, Culleton was invited by the North Dakota Museum of Art to participate in an artist residency at McCanna House, located west of Grand Forks in a 1920 house designed by Joseph Bell DeRemer and given along with ten acres by Margery McCanna, a long time patron of the Museum. The residency offers artists, composers, and writers unfettered time to work in a setting that preserves the history and integrity of one of North Dakota’s first architect-designed, French-style country homes surrounded by rich, agricultural land. Culleton visited the residency every fall for three consecutive years digging into the history of the people and the place, in particular looking for interesting stories to tell through drawings and song. By the end of the residency he had created the ideas for a book, a full album of music titled Vanished Days and several music videos for the album. He worked with Canadian puppet maker Curtis Weibe to make “Uncle Charlie” who appears in videos and drawings. Culleton’s one hope for this project was to help preserve some of the rich history of the McCanna home and to shed light on what life might have been like for people on the prairies a 150-years ago during the days of Bonanza wheat farming.


Directions (from Grand Forks): Take Hwy #2 East. Turn north onto Hwy ND-#18 at the Larimore rest stop. Drive approximately 3 miles on ND-#18 and turn west on Hwy #11. Stay on Hwy #11 and follow the curve north. Before the second curve, go straight on 41Stree NE (gravel) and make a right onto 23rd Avenue Northeast. The McCanna House is on the northeast edge of the town McCanna, or follow the balloons.


James Culleton. McCanna House, 2013. Watercolor and ink, 11 x 14 inches.


"The fifth and final video release for my album Vanished Days is for my song Dear Margery. I wrote and arranged the song based on letters I found from the 40's that were written between Margery and Charles McCanna.

The video itself, filmed and edited by Leif Norman, was shot at an art residency at the McCanna House put on by the North Dakota Museum of Art. Curtis Wiebe created and operated the puppet(Chaz) used in the video.

The musicians on this recording are James Culleton on acoustic guitar and vocals, Joanna Miller on drums, Benoit Morier on guitar, Gilles Fournier on bass, Don Zueff on violin, Andrina Turenne and Jd Ormond on backup vocals, and Marc Arnould on keys".

-James Culleton