Lee Kanten, Ortonville film and music artist, named 2023 SMAC Prairie Disciple – West Central Tribune


— The believed that he would deserve, permit on your own gain an award for his decade of arts volunteering and advocacy has hardly ever even crossed Lee Kanten’s thoughts. So when his spouse brought him up to the

Significant Stone County Historical Museum

in May well, declaring his sister preferred to present him something, and to just overlook all the autos and folks at the museum, Kanten didn’t dilemma it.

When he began recognizing people in the crowd and observed

Southwest Minnesota Arts Council

Government Director Nicole DeBoer holding a major check out, with Kanten’s identify on it no considerably less, it nevertheless hadn’t pretty sunk in.

“I was so sluggish on the pick up,” Kanten said, even wondering perhaps he was there to honor somebody else. “When the dawn arrived, I just began crying, just wept.”

Kanten was named the

2023 SMAC Prairie Disciple

, an award specified each year to an unique in the 18-county location SMAC serves. It recognizes the person’s involvement, activities, volunteerism and advocacy in the arts in their community and the SMAC area.

Kanten has utilized his expertise in movie production and songs to aid various companies and individuals above the years. He established movies for the

Major Stone Health Care Basis

, held jam sessions and open up mic occasions for the public and performs often at nursing homes and for people of the Divine Home.

Lee Kanten gets award check from Nicole DeBoer.jpg

Southwest Minnesota Arts Council Govt Director Nicole DeBoer, correct, presents Lee Kanten with the award money that arrived with currently being named the 2023 SMAC Prairie Disciple.

Contributed / Lee Kanten

“All I did was what is fun for me to do,” Kanten said, including he obtained as considerably out of it as the men and women he was taking part in for and aiding. “If something, what the award convinced me of is I have a large amount of get the job done to do.”

Kanten grew up in


, and graduated from

Southwest Minnesota Point out College

with a bachelor’s diploma in tv and theater.

For numerous yrs, as Lee Shots, he made movies for many Fortune 100 providers and nonprofits these kinds of as DuPont, Hazelden, Johnson Institute, SoleCare for Souls, Habitat for Humanity and Compassion Intercontinental. His movies covered subject areas these kinds of as sexual violence, dependancy, education and extra.

“That grew to become incredibly strong get the job done,” Kanten said.

Music has also performed a big purpose in Kanten’s life. He started off enjoying on stage at the younger age of 10 with his uncles who were members of a nicely-identified band about


. As Kanten grew he continued to enjoy, which includes with a rock and roll band in Ortonville and a 1950s team that even traveled the place for a handful of many years. Finally he and his brother commenced actively playing reveals at spot nursing households.

“It was the sweetest gig ever,” Kanten claimed, for the reason that there the viewers seriously listens and reacts to the songs. “We begun to understand the power of tunes.”

Ten years in the past, Kanten and his wife, Jeanie, decided it was time to retire and preferred to shift somewhere exotically different from their life in Minneapolis. That locale ended up remaining Ortonville.

“It has just been a wonderful retirement for us. Both equally of us have felt this kind of an explosion of creativeness,” Kanten reported.

Section of that maximize in creative output possibly will come from the present of time in retirement, Kanten reported, but there is also the accessibility of art and artisans 1 finds in modest towns.

“There is just this excellent, innovative community in these little towns,” Kanten explained.

Back in his hometown, Kanten has been able to come across creative approaches to volunteer and discovered new communities and associations to be element of. He found he enjoys working with the disabled local community as effectively as continuing his performances at nursing homes and volunteering with the

Large Stone Arts Council


“We all like to be necessary and in modest communities you are wanted,” Kanten explained. “Your impact is rather measurable and fairly observable.”

And though Kanten was accomplishing all of this, individuals have been definitely using observe. It was Jeanie who nominated Kanten for the Prairie Disciple award, filling out the application and accumulating letters of help from several men and women Kanten has worked with and assisted by means of the final ten years.

“I won this because of the toughness of her nomination,” Kanten said.

Kanten claimed he would not have been in a position to do any of the perform he is being acknowledged for, or the perform he did in the course of his movie manufacturing occupation with out Jeanie. She has been performing tirelessly in the track record for most of their married lifestyle, even quitting her possess profession to assist Kanten establish and run Lee Photographs.

Jam session with Lee Kanten.jpg

Lee Kanten held jam classes in Ortonville, offering regional musicians a opportunity to execute on phase.

Contributed / Lee Kanten

“Quite actually, so a great deal that I have accomplished in this local community, Jeanie has completed so a lot of the qualifications perform,” Kanten reported.

There have been quite a few other people who have been instrumental in encouraging Kanten about the years and very a handful of of them had been on hand to congratulate Kanten. He basically felt a bit ashamed being offered the award when so a lot of in that place deserved the exact.

All those people encouraged, led and dragged Kanten into items, he mentioned, and should have just as substantially credit rating.

“I was and continue being just floored by that,” Kanten claimed. “Not a issue they wrote I did was accomplished on your own.”

Kanten will be honored as this year’s Prairie Disciple at the SMAC Yearly Celebration at 4 p.m. Oct. 14 at the

Danebod People School in Tyler

. For the very last few months, Kanten has been seeking to create up his acceptance speech.

Kanten thinks he now has to get paid the award he has been offered and reside up to the numerous meanings of the word “disciple.”

“‘Disciple’ is this quite exciting phrase. The implications of it, that you are a follower, that you are a chief, that you are a trainer, that you are a student,” Kanten mentioned, who plans to embrace all of that. “I need to dwell up to that name, lead other people down this fulfilling path.”

Already Kanten will be following in the footsteps of numerous disciples before, by using what he has figured out and achieved and sharing it in a whole new neighborhood. The few have made a decision the time has appear to move on from Ortonville and are in the course of action of moving to Jeanie’s hometown of Fairmont.

“It is seriously tricky declaring goodbye,” Kanten claimed.

Lee Kanten singing.jpg

Following 10 yrs in Ortonville, Lee Kanten and his wife, Jeanie, have determined to go to Fairmont to be closer to friends and relatives.

Contributed / Lee Kanten

The shift permits the pair to be nearer to their son in Iowa, expend the golden many years of their lives with shut pals and offers them a new start out. For the very last couple several years, Kanten has been doing work through the effects of childhood trauma and sexual abuse which occurred when he was expanding up in Ortonville. At very first, he didn’t want it to look like he was functioning absent, but after performing with a therapist, he now feels completely ready for a alter.

“I am operating towards one thing,” Kanten explained, who is hoping to locate a way to aid other sexual abuse survivors when nonetheless operating with the disabled local community in Fairmont.

Though he is not guaranteed what form his volunteerism and art will choose in Fairmont, what Kanten is sure of is the value of the arts in a group. He thinks every person is an artist in some way, mainly because it is all about employing one’s creativeness and creativity. Even an electrician can be regarded an artist by acquiring resourceful techniques to make positive the lights come on. That variety of contemplating and development is desired now more than ever.

“With the problems we facial area as a world? We are heading to will need some definitely excellent imaginations at work to determine out what we are heading to do,” Kanten stated. “Art evokes that.”