"Willa Cather Childhood Home Soundstitching" by Cassia Kite

Soundstitching: Sites and Sounds of Willa Cather's World

Art Gallery

Red Cloud Opera House Gallery
413 N Webster Street
Red Cloud, NE 68970
United States

In this exhibition, artist Cassia Kite's distinctive Soundstitching process allows visitors to experience Willa Cather's world in a whole new way. Soundstitching: Sites and Sounds of Willa Cather's World transforms the colors from hand-stitched images of locations from Cather's life into playable musical compositions, creating a multidisciplinary and multisensory experience.

The Soundstitching process starts with a hand-stitched image, which Kite converts to a color map, which is then translated into a color scale on the piano, assigning each color to a key. Following the order of the color maps, Kite then uses the piano color scale to assign musical notes and create a musical composition. Kite's musical collaborators are then able to arrange the notes into a composition.

On view from May 3 to June 11, the exhibition is free and open to the public. Click here to view the digital gallery!

A special Spring Conference event —an artist talk and a performance of Soundstitching compositions by Dr. Stacey Barelos on Friday, June 3—will be held in the Red Cloud Opera House as part of our 67th annual Willa Cather Spring Conference. Please visit the Spring Conference page for a full schedule.

About the Artists

Cassia Kite is the interdisciplinary creator of Soundstitching. Kite has collaboratively produced large-scale work for chamber ensembles and dancers using color-coded graphic scores derived from her hand-stitched tapestries. Kite's work premiered at KANEKO in Omaha, Nebraska, in July 2017. She has been featured as an experimental composer and visual artist at music festivals, museums, and universities. Kite has been awarded artist-in-residence at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in 2018 and the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences Residency Program in 2019. She is the recipient of the Paul J. Smith Excellence in Fibers Award from the Fiber Art Network 2018 and the Dixon Ticonderoga Award of Excellence from the Florida Art Education Association in 2019.

Kite was born in Auburn, Nebraska, and earned a B.F.A in painting and sculpture, and a B.S. in Art Education from Northwest Missouri State University in 2003. She completed her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Florida in 2010. Currently, Kite is the Cross-Curricular Liaison and a Visual Art Instructor in the fine arts program at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, and resides in Sarasota.

Stacey Barelos is a performer, composer, and educator.  As a performer, she specializes in the music of the 20th and 21st centuries, particularly the music of living composers. Regarding her first solo release, The Midwest American Piano Project, the American Record Guide said, “Stacey Barelos . . . plays with authority and poetic nuance, her beautiful tone captured vividly in this warm recording. . .” Barelos has also done extensive research on the piano music of American composer Henry Cowell, much of which can be seen on her website.

As a composer, Barelos's eclectic works have been performed on five continents and can be heard on the Albany and Blue Griffin labels.  In 2019, her piece Starfish was featured at toy piano festivals in Como, Italy, and Seoul, South Korea. In 2020, Barelos’s work as a composer, performer, and educator was featured on Nebraska Public Media’s “What If,” a statewide program celebrating innovation and creativity in Nebraska. She received her DMA degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She teaches at the Omaha Conservatory of Music, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and is the Education Director for the Omaha Under the Radar Festival.

Programming at the National Willa Cather's Red Cloud Opera House is made possible with the support of the Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.