Minnesota's Legacy

Artist Fellowship

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Elizabeth LaPensee
Recipient Type
Start Date
July 2016
End Date
June 2017
Activity Type
Counties Affected
St. Louis
St. Louis
Legal Citation / Subdivision
Laws of Minnesota 2015 Special Session, chapter 2, article 4, section 2, subdivision 3
Appropriation Language

ACHF Arts Access

2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Administration costs
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Thunderbird Strike is an art game that will be my first where I fully adapt my digital art to active elements in a game. While I am an established game designer and artist and have contributed art as backgrounds to games, I have yet to develop a game with moving characters and interactive/reactive assets from my own art. My main goal is to make this transition and reach a new level of sharing my voice through games. The game will then be distributed for free online and through exhibitions and festivals. Success is thus based on (1) completion and (2) distribution: downloads, play-throughs and replays, exposure through exhibitions, and acceptance in festivals including imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and IndieCade. Completing Thunderbird Strike and merging my own digital art with my game design and code is the most vital outcome that will expand my body of work and serve as the step that transitions me into fully independent artful game development. The distribution of the game to players from all around the world through free web play and mobile downloads, exhibitions, and festivals is paramount to measuring the game's success. Finally, the number of play-throughs and replays can be measured to better understand games as art that can be revisited. The design and the reception from players will result in media articles and peer reviewed academic articles with credit attributed to Arrowhead Regional Arts Council for making the game possible.

Measurable Outcome(s)

Design and development of Thunderbird Strike, a 2D sidescroller game that merges Woodlands art, Anishinaabe stories, and engaging quick-paced gameplay that empowers the player as a thunderbird stopping the pipelines and protecting the Great Lakes. Distribution of Thunderbird Strike to festivals and the public. The demo is now available to select playtesters. The official release is schedule at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in Fall 2017.

Description of Funds
Source of Additional Funds

Other, local or private

Project Overview
Artist Fellowship
Project Details
Thunderbird Strike is a 2D sidescroller game that merges woodlands art, Anishinaabe stories, and engaging quick-paced gameplay that empowers the player as a thunderbird stopping the pipelines and protecting the Great Lakes.
Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Elizabeth LaPensee
(503) 560-8545
Competitive Grant Making Body
Board Members and Qualifications
Ken Bloom: Director of Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota-Duluth; Janeen Carey: vocalist, retired Hibbing Community College librarian and information media specialist; Kate Fitzgerald: Program Director for North Shore Music Association, writer; David Beard: Assistant Professor of writing studies, University of Minnesota-Duluth; Adam Guggemos: graphic designer, art events promoter; Michelle Ronning: jewelry designer and maker; John Gregor: photographer, art educator, community art advocate; Ann Russ: music performer, community song leader, choir director, workshop leader, past director and founder of North Shore Music Association; Tara Makinen: Executive Director of Itasca Orchestra and Strings, musician; Dana Mattice: Development and Communications Director of The Art Institute Duluth; Moira Villiard: visual artist and student of arts and communication at University of Wisconsin-Superior; Jeanne Doty: Retired Associate Professor of music, University of Minnesota-Duluth, pianist; Candace LaCosse: North House Folk School instructor, leatherwork designer and crafter.
Advisory Group Members and Qualifications
Ken Bloom: Board member; Erik Redix: Professor of Native Studies, University of Minnesota-Duluth; Karen Savage-Blue: visual artist; Christian McShane: musician; Amy Sharpe: fine craft, literature; Veda Zuponcic: musician.
Conflict of Interest Disclosed