Minnesota State High School League
Visual Arts Competition-Region 3A
2004 Judges Archive Two
Shelley Cords-Swanson



“It seems quite natural that thinking creatively has become so much a part of who I am.
Growing up in Lake Crystal, MN. in the 60s and 70s, I was fortunate to have parents
who were actively engaged in creative pursuits. Dad was forever building this and
remodeling that, while Mom was always busy refinishing furniture, teaching crafts, and
exhibiting her own artwork at area galleries. As a kid, then, I was continually exposed to
and influenced by their way of thinking. Not only that, I developed many useful skills
which have enabled me to take an idea and transform it into something tangible.
When it came time for me to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up, it became
clear that I wanted to pursue something in the field of design, yet I also wanted to
incorporate my passion for the outdoors. While attending Mankato State University, I
discovered the Geography Department offered a curriculum to satisfy those criteria.
Thus, it was here where I found my niche as a cartographer (mapmaker).

After graduating from Mankato State University with a Master of Arts degree in
Geography, I spent part of one year teaching geography at Gustavus Adolphus
College, followed by 16 years teaching introductory geography courses at Minnesota
State University, Mankato. I was also a cartographic consultant for many years. I have
since retired from teaching to devote more time toward creating new fiber pieces,
exhibiting my work, and giving lectures about the Cartographer’s Art.”

Shelley lives on a farm near Odin, MN. and New York.
This site is supported by the Perpich Center for the Arts and Westbrook Walnut Grove Schools

Region 3A Event Manager:
Debora Ziller
BOLD High School
Highway 71 & Highway 212
Olivia, MN 56277
Phone: 320-523-1031
Email: debora.ziller@bold.k12.mn.us

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Region 3A Visual Arts Competition Judge Archive Two