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Inundation, inspiration, and collaboration

Fresh on the heels of his Codex film success, Micah Bloom, assistant art professor, is ready for a break from the harried responsibilities of film producer and artistic director. Not that he isn't grateful, but after 18 months of filming, documenting and cataloging flooded books, Bloom is ready to return to his roots: drawing and painting.

Originally from Minnesota, Bloom attended Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, where he obtained a bachelor's in art education and elementary education. Following graduation, he taught K-6 at an arts magnet school in St. Paul.

After six years of teaching art, Bloom, and his wife, Sara, decided the time had come to pursue graduate school. He enrolled in the painting and drawing program at the University of Iowa, where he obtained a Master of Fine Arts in 2010. Following graduation, Bloom spent a year "just being an artist," and exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai.

The Bloom family came to Minot in August 2011, during the aftermath of the Mouse River flood. Commuting to work on his bicycle, Micah Bloom was emotionally drawn to the debris along the road, particularly books, and felt compelled to tell their story.

"I would ride by a certain area where there were books along the sides of the tracks, in ditches along the road, down by the river, and they were exposed, like bodies after a disaster," Bloom said. "They were really tugging on me and I couldn't leave them. I thought, 'How do I respond? What do I do?'"

And so, Codex was born.

Eager to incorporate students in his art, Bloom recruited 17 assistants in his quest to document the recovery, research, and final interment of over 580 books.

"There is hope that what was lost in the flood -- all the memories and keepsakes -- can find some place of rest or redemption. By using the book as a symbol, we address these losses and help bring closure."

For the immediate future, Bloom wants to return to painting. However, Codex will not be shelved anytime soon. Bloom plans to enter juried film festivals and exhibit the work around the country. Presently, Codex is being exhibited on campus at the Northwest Art Center through April 5. Portions of Codex on display at the University of North Carolina Wilmington took third place in the juried exhibition: Codicology.

Humble by nature, Bloom credits his students for their diligence and his family for their support and patience. Micah and Sara have four daughters: Eva, 10, Magdalana, 6, Aletheia, 4, and Valorosa, 2.