MCAD

Growing up, Mandy Martinson heard endless stories from her father about his work as an investigator of violent crime. At the dinner table, it was just as common to hear about disturbing cases as it was to talk about how their days went. With this type of upbringing, Mandy became interested in criminology and the merging of work life […]

John Matsunaga is an artist who uses photography and artists’ books as his main media of expression. In his work, he focuses conceptually on history, memory and forgetting, and racial identity and inequality. Overall, John’s goal is to create social commentaries that promote an awareness of the constructed nature of and the biases within our histories, identities, and visual representations. […]

Sarah Faye McPherson explores ideas of impermanence and the connections she sees between three distinct spaces: nature, architecture, and the digital realm. She is fascinated by the concept of a mediated experience—where the digital realm, architectural space, and the natural world all collide to create a contemporary vocabulary relying on the cyclicality of these realms to […]

Heidi Miller tactically employs humor, meditative spaces, enigmatic approaches, and product-based solutions for social criticism, to create an escape, or to provide consumer alternatives. Using the “design for good” movement as a guide, she explores how graphic design can be revealing and have ethical impact.  Often, Heidi uses appropriated materials. Engaged with these design relics, she deconstructs them […]

Kathryn Miller is interested in the gestural action of a landscape and how that gesture might inform human response. Her work directs material and scale to question ways of working and being in the world: How do we measure human physicality in the spaces we inhabit? What is the essence of physical work? How might we reassess […]

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  • April
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Alex Mitchell tells stories.  Sometimes he tells his own stories, and sometimes he tells the stories of others. Thematically, Alex’s interests tend toward explorations of myth, mystery, and the creation of meaning through narrative. If myth is order—the cause and effect of the world, the description, delineation, and development cosmos (literally the opposite of chaos)—then mystery is the negative space […]

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  • April
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Niky Motekallem makes work that revolves around an esoteric mythos and the natural world. She makes decay beautiful and depicts animals and figures rotting, surrounded by plants and fungi in a state of exchanging matter.  Before becoming an illustrator, Niky was a painter and printmaker. She found that her work could exist comfortably within illustration, which straddles the realm […]

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  • April
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Christopher Selleck has been making photographs for twenty-five plus years, and for him there still exists the same wonder and excitement that was present when he watched his first print appear in a tray of developer. Growing up as a closeted gay man, he felt like an outside observer to masculinity. Using sports and masculinity as a lens to […]

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  • April
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Amber Newman is interested in the phenomenon of images naturally becoming the face of movements, but she is also interested in the way technology and the Internet has increased global awareness of serious situations with videos, sound recordings, and still images.   She uses graphic design and new technologies as a way to critique these images as a […]

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  • April
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Nick Rivers’ work deals with violence, destruction, love, and creation. He considers gestures between the specific toward the universal, then examines displacement and dislocation in the world and himself. Being concerned with evidence and the mark, he creates gestures of things occurring, things which occurred, and things yet to occur. In Nick’s words, “we are all related. All […]

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  • April
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Eric Yevak uses traditional painting methods combined with digitally created work to address the concept of transcendence inside of the contemporary sublime. The work apprehends loss and desire: loss of self, of the moment, of faith; desire for security, understanding, and identity. It approaches struggle as a method to transcend conscious existence. The work is not a […]

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  • April
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This March, second year MFA candidate Qiuwen Li published two projects in Creative Quarterly Magazine, Issue 41. She was selected from a highly competitive and juried pool of applicants, and was chosen as a winner in both the Fine Art: Student, and Graphic Design: Student categories, for projects she completed under MCAD’s Graphic Design Professor and Chair, […]

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  • April
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This month, MFA alum Lindsey Ries is having her paintings showcased, along with local artist Mike Welton, in the Inez Greenberg Gallery at Artistry, Bloomington’s Center For the Arts. The show is aptly titled Urban Extracts.  Lindsey’s work contains both rural and architectural motifs, and she portrays the landscape with elements of abstraction and representational forms. She graduated from MCAD’s […]

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  • April
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This March, first year MFA candidate Erin Sandsmark participated in a group show at Altered Esthetics Gallery, which was part of the Guerilla Girls Twin Cities Takeover. Sandsmark’s work is made up of large-scale acrylic paintings that are centered on her figure, and how the body she has fits into the world. She has made […]

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  • April
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This Spring, MCAD MFA candidates for 2016 and 2017 were invited to submit artwork for consideration into a group show at the Soo Visual Arts Center in Minneapolis. Jurors Mia Lopez and Kimberly Witczak selected 25 artists for the exhibition. The following students were selected for the show: Julie Benda, Anna Biedenbender, Kelsey Bosch, Allison Brown, Kayla […]

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  • April
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On April 7th, Ditch Gallery hosted the opening of a show by MFA mentor Kelly O’Brien. The show, Role Model, featured paintings and 3D works. Her practice plays with the ideas of paint and sculpture. From her website: “Expectations of what is considered sculpture or painting are exaggerated for the compositional battle, and the form is dictated by […]

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  • April
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This month Make it Move, an organization run by MFA alumni Jack Pavlik and Peng Wu, hosted its second juried exhibition, Body and Machine 2016: Kinetic and Interactive Art. Make It Move is an arts organization devoted to the exhibition and promotion of kinetic and interactive arts. It started as an idea in 2014, modeled on […]

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  • April
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Earlier this month, MCAD’s Gallery 148 hosted a show by one of our second year MFA candidates. INLAND was a solo exhibition of works by Sarah Faye McPherson. Utilizing 3D digital fabrication, projection and sculpture, McPherson reiterated the notion of a mediated experience—blurring the realms of nature, architecture and the digital realm. The show featured […]

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  • April
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Sound + Vision XXX Art Shanty, by MCAD MFA candidates Kathryn Miller, Julie Benda, and Kelsey Bosch provides a phenomenological experience of sound, light, and ice that will lead participants to reconfigure and deepen relationships to winter in Minnesota. Sound + Vision XXX is a collaborative project that endeavors to negotiate the mystery, femininity, and physicality of […]

At the tailend of the March, five of our drawing and painting majors were able to meet with Juan Sánchez, an influential American Artist and one of the most important Nuyorican cultural figures to emerge in the second half of the 20th century. Born to migrant working-class Puerto Rican parents in Brooklyn, New York, Sánchez […]

In early March, Visiting Faculty member and MFA mentor Andy DuCett was invited to make a limited edition serigraph at The Union for Contemporary Art in Omaha, NE. Over the course of five days, he worked with master printer Joshua Norton to produce the first screen print of his work. The result was a 10 […]

Made at MCAD is the annual juried exhibition featuring the best work submitted by current MCAD graduate and undergraduate students pursuing degrees in design, fine arts, media arts, and entrepreneurial studies. Of the 63 artists in the show, 23 of them were MFA students including: Rachel Jennings, Bianca Jarvis, Joel Terry, Jesse R. Lentz, Essma Imady, Joe Letchford, Michaela Chorn, Liza Dorsey, Kayla Campbell, Dana […]

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  • March
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On the first Friday of March this year, Open Studio Night 2016 marked the debut of the MFA program’s new home at 2201 First Avenue South. This expanded 23,000 square foot facility gives students room to really flex their creative muscles and supports the rigor and vitality that make MCAD’s MFA program one of the […]

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  • March
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First-year painter, Michaela Chorn, was featured in The Emerging Artists Exhibit, a juried group show that included undergraduate and graduate level college artists and non-students who have never been featured in a gallery exhibit. The show included a variety of work from 11 emerging artists from Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa at Crossings, which ran January […]

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  • March
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This February, MCAD’s Gallery 148 hosted New Geographic 2, the collaborative effort of first-year graphic designer Dan Romanoski and designer Eric Hurtgen. NG2 made use of projections and looping image – along with sound by the producer Cubby – to explore a life where the edges of physical and digital landscapes overlap. The show opening […]

Last week, graduate drawing/painting candidate Kathryn Miller was a part of a gallery talk at Waiting Room here in Minneapolis. The gallery discussion was in conjunction with the show, Current Location, and featured artists Isa Newby Gagarin, Jessica Henderson, and Miller. The discussion welcomed cross-conversation from attendees regarding the artists work, exhibition themes, and artistic positioning systems. Co-curated […]

Last week the MFA program wrapped up the 2016 Thesis Proposal Presentations. Each of the 32 graduate candidates presented their progression in the program and proposed a thesis direction to the MCAD community for consideration and response.  Final works will be presented at the upcoming MCAD MFA Thesis Exhibition in May 2016 in our new studio and […]

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  • February
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Early this February, first-year sculptor Jesse Lentz participated in Collected Residue, a group show in MCAD’s student-run Gallery 148. Jesse’s work, “My Grandmother’s Shadows” was a collection of small and curious objects that remind her of her grandmother, and the witchcraft she prepared to practice. The show  was aptly named. According to their event page, “when […]

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  • February
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This February, MFA students and alums Liza Dorsey, Preston Drum, Alex Mitchell, Niky Motekallem, Joel Terry, and Peng Wu participated in a Valentine-themed group show at the Northrup King Building. The show was hosted by Chris Nystrom, a longtime friend of the program, in his Studio 359.   The Northrup King Building is home to over 200 tenants, including a creative […]

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  • February
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Last week five of our MFA candidates, focusing in a variety of disciplines, were lucky enough to meet with visiting artist, Mike Calway-Fagen. Calway-Fagen is a visual artist, writer, and curator based in the Midwest where he teaches at the University of Indiana, Bloomington. The mediums of his work vary from mixed-media paintings, video, photography, […]

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  • February
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DEMO Project presents “Of This Place” from artists Rachel Jennings, second-year MCAD MFA candidate, and Corrin Smithson McWhirter. The artists developed independent mixed media installation works that were responsive to the site of DEMO Project and presented a collaborative crossover effort in the gallery.  The artists, each with ties to Springfield, have looked to local […]

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  • February
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BORDERLINES is an exhibition featuring work from 16 current photography and moving image MFA candidates from the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Curated by Ethan Jones of Big Al’s Photo in Saint Paul. The show’s title speaks to the separation between the competing programs, while also drawing upon concepts, subjects, […]

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  • February
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Opening the spring 2016 semester, Joint Custody was the newest photo, video and installation work from Curly Jefferson. Curly Jefferson is the anonymous fictional dual character that is the collaboration of second-year MCAD MFA graphic designers, Kayla Campbell and Katie Lupton. The Gallery 148 show explored elements of fun, color, styling, silliness and anonymity. Under […]

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  • February
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Current MFA student Preston Drum ventured back to his hometown Charlotte, North Carolina over the winter break for a month-long studio residency at C3 Lab. The residency culminated in a solo show entitled Home Comings and Goings, a large multi-media installation that incorporated painting, sculpture, sound, video and live performances. For this project, Drum teamed […]

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  • February
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Since November 2015, first year graphic designers Dan Romanoski and Dana Cheit have enjoyed internships with world-renowned graphics and typeface designer Michael Cina. Cina Associates spearheads projects for Fortune 100 companies, major television networks, design agencies, and lifestyle brands the world over. Cina takes pride in crafting exceptional design that communicates both visually and strategically–bringing branding solutions to life […]

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  • February
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Second-year students, Christopher Selleck and Leslie Barlow both have pieces in Made Here’s Reflection showcase in the Mayo Clinic Square and Minneapolis City Center! Made Here fills windows and other underused spaces throughout the downtown Minneapolis Cultural District with art. Reflection features the work of more than 60 Minnesota artists and 20 students, exploring the […]

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  • February
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Hypervisible (Invisible) contains the works of second-year MFA students Leslie Barlow, Patience Lekien, John Matsunaga, and Amber Newman. Using a variety of disciplines, the four artists present work that is inquisitive in nature, and advocates for critical engagement in the social and racial discourses that continue to plague American society today. The artists each construct worlds where […]

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  • February
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Over the winter break, MCAD’s entire MFA program moved to a beautiful space just 5 minutes from Main Campus! Students did not waste any time getting settled into their new studios and starting new work in preparation for the spring semester. The closer proximity to MCAD is a benefit not only to graduate students but also […]

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  • January
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  • 2016

Every third Thursday of the month, The Minneapolis Institute of Art hosts an audience engagement event appropriately titled, Third Thursday. Each month the museum stays open late and develops special thematic programming based off exhibitions hung in their halls. At Mia’s last Third Thursday of 2015, A Wintry Mix, second-year MFAers Qiuwen Li and Alex Mitchell […]

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  • January
  • 26
  • 2016

Current ’16 MFA students Liza Dorsey and Christopher Selleck, along with alumni Nick Kovatch were selected to be a part of Rosalux Gallery’s 11th Annual Open Door Juried Exhibition. The show featured a variety of 2D and 3D work and was juried by curator, Mia Lopez. Rosalux is Minnesota’s longest running collective art gallery which […]

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  • January
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  • 2016

Two of our second-year students were selected to be a part of BOWER BIRD, a collaborative postcard art exhibition, at Light Grey Art Lab in Minneapolis. Illustrator, Niky Motekallem, and comic artist, John Bivens were two of the 90 participating artists that created a limited-edition run of postcards using their collections and object obsessions as inspiration. When doing the […]

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  • January
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  • 2016

Multiple MCAD students and faculty were able to be apart of Midway’s 8th Annual Monster Drawing Rally this year! Hosted at the Grainbelt Bottling House in NE Minneapolis, the event is ran in 3 shifts, where you can watch over 75 artists draw live throughout the night and all drawings are priced at $35 each. attendees […]

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  • January
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The 18th year of the MCAD Art Sale was a record breaking! Proceeds from the event topped $300,000, with 80% of the proceeds going directly to the artists and designers. Multiple MFA students had work in the sale with three second-year students: Kathryn Miller, Eric Yevak, and Christopher Selleck, all chosen as Hot Picks! Be […]

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  • December
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Last month, renowned artist Domenic Cretara visited our MFA studios and spoke with students about his work and theirs. He also generously spoke to the MCAD community about his work at our main campus on December 3rd. Cretara is a professor of art at California State University, Long Beach. He is a painter and illustrator whose work has […]

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  • December
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Earlier in November, painter Anna Biedenbender was chosen to host a solo show in the MCAD Library Gallery. Her show “Marked” was on display into the month of December for students, faculty, and all members of the MCAD community and neighborhood to enjoy. Anna is a second-year MFA student who uses mark to discuss the concept of belonging. The opening […]

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  • December
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  • 2015

On Thursday November 12, artist Manav Gupta generously visited MCAD’s MFA program to view student work and share his wisdom with our students. Gupta is a versatile contemporary artist from India who enjoys international acclaim. His pieces span from canvas paintings to performance, poetry, film, music, and sculpture. His work confronts themes of environmental responsibility, and “a contemplation of spiritual and the […]

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  • December
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Sneak Peek! Earlier this month, painter Leslie Barlow was visited in her Whittier studio by the crew of MN Original, to be filmed for an episode of their award-winning weekly artist series. The series “celebrates Minnesota’s creative community, across all disciplines and all cultures, and increases awareness of Minnesota artists, arts organizations and arts venues.” Leslie’s […]

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  • December
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Right before the Thanksgiving holiday, John Bivens, a second-year comics major, signed copies of his new book Old Wounds. Bivens who worked on the art along with writer, Russell Lissau, had two signings around the Twin Cities, one at Source Comics & Games in St. Paul and one at the MCAD Library, where comic book fans […]

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  • December
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Every fall graduate professor and mentor, Rik Sferra, graciously offers two lighting and documentation workshops exclusively for MFA students. Attendees are presented with the opportunity to learn a variety of photography techniques from basic to advanced and gain access to the studios on MCAD’s main campus. This year a group of our MFA class took […]

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  • December
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This fall three of our MFA graphic designers were able to attend AIGA Minnesota’s Design Camp®, the largest regional design conference in the country. Held annually in early October at a lodge in northern Minnesota, Design Camp provides an atypical conference structure, mixing indoor and outdoor activities with both educational and social events. Lasting for […]

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  • November
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  • 2015

MFA Thesis Exhibition 2016

MFA Thesis Exhibition 2016

MFA Program Overview

MFA Thesis Exhibition Catalog

MFA Print Portfolio