CUT/PASTE: News from MCAD Vol. #3

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Cut/Paste: News From MCAD is an annual publication that celebrates the creative achievements and cultural leadership of alumni. Inside, you will discover innovative work done by peers as well as current students, the latest developments at the college, and ways to engage with the MCAD community.

MCAD is committed to creating an environment where all students can succeed. Crucial to this mission is the generosity of our community. Thanks to the support of Mark Abeln '80 and Monica Little '79, the newly created position of Alben/Little Design Fellow provides an enriching opportunity to a recent MCAD graduate transitioning into a professional career. As part of the staff of DesignWorks, MCAD’s in-house design studio, the Design Fellow gains both management and design experience while providing support for all MCAD communication materials, as well as assisting the Creative Director with the mentorship of student staff.

TO UPDATE YOUR ADDRESS: Visit or email TO SHARE COMMENTS OR IDEAS: Let us know about an exhibition, publication, event, award, or other important milestone at share-news or email Cut/Paste Spring 2022, Vol. 3 Designed by Nicky Dolan ’20 Edited by Gregory Gestner


➂ VO L .


A LETTER FROM PRESIDENT SANJIT SETHI Shortly after I arrived at MCAD, I penned a letter to the MCAD community, expressing the college’s commitment to social justice work and how my background in art and design and higher education would inform this vision. The feedback was extremely positive, though I did receive one response stating that MCAD needs to “stay in its lane.” Thinking about this exchange two years later, especially after an intense period during which the college reexamined its values and priorities, I can clearly say that there is nothing proscriptive or restrictive about an MCAD education. We have overlapping and intertwined pedagogies, processes, and philosophies—not lanes.

A hallmark of an MCAD education is becoming comfortable with risk-taking within an everchanging world. Our shared MCAD experience comes from a belief that there is no one distinct direction that we expect students to follow. Instead, we celebrate an education that favors the asking of questions over having the answers. I am always interested in hearing from alumni about their path after MCAD, whatever direction it has taken. Feel free to drop me a line at and let me know what you are up to.

This edition of Cut/Paste reveals the ties that bind our alumni based on a shared MCAD experience. An MCAD education provides different ways of thinking, which allow students to choose their own paths, feel comfortable switching gears, and take advantage of their own intuitions and insights. The alumni featured in the following pages lead rich, creative lives informed by a range of experiences, but not bound by a single practice or approach. Instead, they are examples of being dynamic, creative practitioners with diverse vocations, passions, and commitments.



➀ Andrea Carlson ’05, MFA, and Pramila Vasudevan ’04, MFA, have been honored with prestigious 2022 USA Fellowships, which “recognize the most compelling artists working and living in the United States, in all disciplines” and come with $50,000 unrestricted awards. Through painting and drawing, Carlson cites entangled cultural narratives relating to objects and their possession and display. Her current research activities include museum studies, Indigenous futurism, and film studies. Vasudevan is a movement-centered artist, cultural worker, and maker of community-rooted/ routed transdisciplinary work. In 2004, she founded Aniccha Arts, an experimental arts collaborative producing site-specific performances that examine agency, voice, and group dynamics within community histories, institutions, and systems.


This year’s Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Nancy Rice ’70. Rice is a beloved MCAD faculty member and advertising legend, having held senior creative management posts with the likes of Knox Reeves, Bozell & Jacobs Minneapolis, DDB Needham Chicago, Ogilvy & Mather Chicago, BBDO Minneapolis, and Rice & Rice. In 1981, she was a founding partner of Fallon McElligott Rice, which was named “Agency of the Year” by Advertising Age. Rice has also been a sought-after judge, speaker, and columnist for the advertising, graphic design, and education fields. She was also honored with a one-woman show at the Herb Lubalin Gallery at Cooper Union in New York. Rice has been an MCAD Alumni Board member, commencement speaker, and featured speaker in MCAD’s 125th Anniversary documentary. MCAD President Sanjit Sethi says, “Nancy Rice is a truly deserving recipient. She has long exemplified creative cultural leadership, both in her career and in her commitment to sharing her expertise and experience with the next generation of design leaders. I especially appreciate the care she brings in creating real-world opportunities for students. They see how design can contribute to a more just society. It is an honor to celebrate her continuing contributions to MCAD and the community.”

L AU N C H E S & I N I T I AT I V E S ➃

➂ Launched in fall 2021, the Design Leadership Institute is a twelve-month incubator for MCAD seniors who identify as Black, Indigenous, or persons of color and want to explore their potential as agents of social change in their communities and beyond. The students engage with a team of mentors, like-minded artists and designers, who are invested in their professional and personal growth. The Design Leadership Institute is generously supported by MCAD Life Trustee Susan Calmenson and the Calmenson Foundation. Meet the seven students in the inaugural cohort at

The new online/low-residency Master of Arts in Creative Leadership program will welcome its first cohort in summer 2022. With a focus on leading-edge organizational practices, the program is designed to cultivate empathetic, adaptive leaders who have the courage to take educated risks, embrace diverse ideas, and collaborate with others around a shared purpose. “This powerful graduate program will foster a creative journey of imagining, action, and reflection, preparing creative leaders to embrace ambiguity and imagine new possibilities that are too often thwarted by conventional leadership paradigms,” says program director Diane Ragsdale. “It will educate students to challenge current structures of financial and social inequality and traditional hierarchical modes of leadership. Students will learn new forms and methods of leadership that embrace the whole person and a diversity of experience.”

➀ Andrea Carlson, Red Exit (2020), oil, acrylic, ink, color pencil, and graphite on paper, approx. 115 x 183 inches (overall). Collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Photo: Rik Sferra ➁ Nancy Rice ʼ70, the 2022 Alumni Lifetime Achievement Winner. ➂ The inaugural cohort of the Design Leadership Institute. ➃ Diane Ragsdale, Director, Master of Arts in Creative Leadership


MEET THE STA F F MCAD recently welcomed new faculty and staff members, who shared an answer to the question, "What art or design object brings you joy at home?"

ADAM ERICKSON Director of Strategic Partnerships and Advisor to the President Adam Erickson will be instrumental in cultivating, building, and scaling innovative partnerships to further the mission and vision of MCAD. For over a decade, he has worked in arts and culture, higher education, and philanthropy, collaborating with artists, thinkers, and leaders as well as with grassroots organizations across the United States in Tribal, rural, suburban, and urban communities. From 2016 to 2020, Erickson directed ArtPlace America’s network-building initiatives and strategic communications. Previously, he managed the Aspen Institute Arts Program. Erickson is a founding member of Vital Little Plans, an artist collective and giving circle which supports initiatives that are arts-driven and community-led for neighborhoods and places.


“Every night before I go to bed, I measure just the right amount of coffee beans (9.5 scoops) into my Bodum Bistro coffee grinder. I plug it in, power it on, and hit the red start button, which fires up the stainless steel conical burrs. The machine evenly crushes the beans into perfect aromatic coffee grounds, and I’m ready for the next morning.”

DR. KHENDUM GYABAK Director of Online Teaching and Learning

DR. PATIENCE LUETH Professor and Director of Foundation Studies

Khendum Gyabak has engaged with national and international nonprofits, educators, community leaders, and healthcare professionals in both teaching and learning contexts. She has supported and led the design of instructional programs and facilitated faculty learning at the University of Texas-El Paso, University of WisconsinLa Crosse, and University of Minnesota. Her work foregrounds the importance of building pedagogical capacity in teachers, and the role agency plays in cultivating a vibrant teaching and learning ecosystem. Gyabak is a council member for the Minnesota Council of Asian Pacific Minnesotans where she advocates for supporting elder mental health among the Bhutanese refugee community and the prevention of school bullying of immigrant youth. Gyabak received her Ph.D. in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University Bloomington.

Patience Lueth comes to MCAD after twenty years at Iowa State University, where she was the director of a first-year studio and taught courses in architecture, design studies, and interdisciplinary art and design. She served on committees at the institutional, departmental, and collegiate level which created programs focused on enhancing learning communities, curriculum change, student affairs, diversity, work-life balance, and peer mentoring. Lueth is a recipient of several awards in teaching, achievement, and leadership. She earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies with an emphasis in higher education, a Master of Science in Architectural Studies, and Bachelor of Architecture from Iowa State University.

“I enjoy making things from recycled material or stuff that’s generally considered junk. For one of my dogs I made a tiny eating ‘igloo’ out of a kiwi container and cardboard that fits over his bowl. The joy of this makeshift design object is that my dog no longer needs to worry about accessing his food and can enjoy it right next to my other dog’s bowl for only his eating pleasure.”

“I have a tea cup that my daughters bought for me for Christmas, which I use all the time. Every time I drink tea from it, I just enjoy the tea more. It says, ‘I am worthy of my dreams.’”


LO O K I N G B A C K : 25 Y E A R S O F T H E A RT S A L E MCAD’s Art Sale is arguably one of the most beloved college community events. Since its start in 1997, when staff meticulously hand wrote tags on almost 1,000 artworks hung in the main gallery, the Art Sale has grown to feature upwards of 15,000 works, covering practically every inch of (pre-Covid) campus, with a further presence online. Started by former President John Slorp, the Art Sale has always been a way for students and alumni to not only pocket cash for their work, but also gain professional development skills in marketing themselves. Over the years, students who first sold their work at the Art Sale have gone on to established careers. Such examples abound, including Evan Aberhamson ’13, J.M. Culver ’06, Samantha French ’05, Gregory Ganeles ’10, Aaron Hauck ’05, Ryan Hughes ’12, Pamela Kirton ’06, Mat Ollig ’10, and Clinton Rost ’04. “There’s always magic to the Art Sale because of the mystery in what alumni and students have been making,” says Cindy Theis, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, who has been involved with the Art Sale since the beginning. “Everyone can see what others have been working on. There’s a lot of inspiration and celebration that comes from this event. It’s a special moment for the community to support one another. ”


As the Art Sale approaches its 25th milestone, the team continues to find ways to adapt to the artists’ needs, especially giving exposure to works in emerging digital mediums. This year’s sale will be held the weekend of November 18–20. Mark your calendars and stay tuned for special plans surrounding the anniversary! What is your favorite Art Sale memory? Share your thoughts via and be featured on MCAD’s website.



M C A D ’ S PAT H FO R WA R D BREAKING THE MOLD OF AN ART AND DESIGN SCHOOL In March, President Sanjit Sethi unveiled a vision for MCAD’s future in a strategic five-year plan. This new path forward is in part a response to how higher education has faced ground-shifting challenges, especially those accelerated by the pandemic. While high school students are reevaluating their priorities amidst a rapidly changing world, there is a need for bold change—a holistic rethinking of the student experience. As President Sethi said, “In envisioning the future for Minneapolis College of Art and Design, we must build upon the institution’s solid foundation, strengthened over more than a century, while also transforming and growing. We must embrace accessibility and practice adaptability to ensure that our students are well-equipped to meet the ever-changing needs of our world.” A critical component is a new campus master plan, for which MCAD has partnered with MASS Design Group, an award-winning architecture firm known for their work in restorative architecture and sustainable design. MCAD’s strategic plan is focused on four transformational areas: ➀ INNOVATIVE CURRICULA + We will help our students imagine what’s possible through experiential learning, collaboration, and reflection, preparing them to influence and change society. + Because creative, cultural leadership is not one-size-fits-all, we will design coursework with flexibility in mind to support individual student needs. + Our curricula will integrate real-world considerations, including heightened expectations for environmentally sustainable solutions and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

➁ CAMPUS OF THE FUTURE + We are committed to growth, ensuring the ability to attract and serve a student body of 1,000. + The college has recently embarked on a reimagined campus master plan led by award-winning MASS Design Group. + We will prioritize investments, in on-campus spaces and IT infrastructure that reduce our climate impact, elevate our brand, improve employee engagement and wellbeing, and increase student enrollment and retention. + We envision a physical and digital campus that is welcoming to the broader community and accessible, inviting and engaging for all types of learners, at all life stages. ➂ A CULTURE OF EMPATHY AND INCLUSION + We hold ourselves accountable to empathetic leadership that integrates humility, inclusion, curiosity, and foresight. + We will improve college completion through increased financial aid, flexible learning options, and academic advising that helps to address food and housing insecurities. + Because we know mental health is paramount and too often ignored, we will focus on a holistic approach to wellbeing, including resources for physical and mental wellness. ➃ COLLABORATIVE COMMUNITY + We will strengthen our capacity to address local, regional, national, and global challenges, such as entrenched barriers to education, climate change, and racism. + We aim to deepen relationships with MCAD alumni through continual learning initiatives, career support, and serving as a resource for their community-based work. + We seek to enrich our students, faculty, staff, and community through broad exposure to creative work and inclusive conversations. To learn more about the college’s vision and how to get involved, visit



JAN JANCOURT PROFESSOR, DESIGN Jan Jancourt’s recent sabbatical was an exploration of motion design, an area for which he holds a deep appreciation at MCAD. These investigations are reflected through a series of projects in which he reframes his graphic design expertise to operate within a time-based media environment. DR. JEN CARUSO ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, LIBERAL ARTS Dr. Jen Caruso posits that post-2008, contemporary filmmakers recognized the dystopias from the mid-to-late twentieth century as prescient works, and adapted or updated the genre of critical dystopia. Among the works Caruso explored during her sabbatical is Patricia Rozema’s 2015 adaptation of Jean Hegland’s novel, Into the Forest, published in 1996.


Sabbaticals provide faculty with the opportunity to engage in new research and projects that they otherwise might not not have time to complete. Four professors share what they accomplished.

BEN MOREN ʼ10 ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, MEDIA ARTS Among the works Ben Moren created during his sabbatical are Reference Ecosystem: Lost 40, a selected archive of images generated using an Artificial Intelligence Generative Adversarial Network (GAN); and Singing Ice, a cassette tape and digital album comprised of field recordings in which reverberating sounds of fracturing lake ice serve as the acoustic foundation. RIK SFERRA PROFESSOR, MEDIA ARTS Rik Sferra spent time during his sabbatical— and the subsequent pandemic lockdown— creating a body of work that reflects on the notion of legacy, not only for himself, but also for his friends, clients, and colleagues.

➀ Jan Jancourt, Tarnation, 2020, digital motion design. ➁ Theatrical poster for Into the Forest (2015), one of the works explored by Dr. Jen Caruso. ➂ Ben Moren, Singing Ice, 2021, cassette tape and digital album featuring modular synthesizer and field recording, 30 minutes per side. ➃ Rik Sferra, Santorini, Greece: 06/19/19, 2019, archival inkjet print.




➀ M AU R A D OY L E ’ 11 STRANGER & CO. Stranger & Co. is a shop owned and operated by Maura Doyle ’11 in Edina, Minnesota. With an ethos of inclusion, accessibility, and visibility, the shop features primarily makers who come from historically marginalized backgrounds, with a vast majority from woman-, BIPOC-, immigrant-, and LGBTQIAowned companies. The “pipe dream” of a store came to fruition in 2020, following Doyle’s stints in galleries and retail. “I’m making my own community, while also giving a platform for artists and designers by bringing new names to the Twin Cities,” she says.

blown, colored-glass cake stands and stemware in a mix of jewel tones and soft pastels.

Having explored a variety of mediums at MCAD—including performance, installation, video, sculpture, photography, and painting— Doyle has curated a shop that is similarly eclectic. One might find terra cotta fruit bowls, Moroccan rugs, jewelry, intricately handwoven baskets, art books, or a mezcalinspired perfume. Recent additions include homewares by Homa Studios, created from locally excavated New Jersey clay, and Estelle Colored Glass, a brand of hand-

➀ Vorta candles and incense holders by Brooklynbased studio Light + Ladder. Available at Stranger & Co, the shop owned by Maura Doyle ʼ11. ➁ Turkish towel by Manifatura.

➁ Doyle tapped Brendan Barrett ’19 to create the graphic identity and custom furniture throughout the space. “MCAD helped me in that I was exposed to a lot of different ways of thinking and modes of making. I was given the freedom to know what I like and don’t like.”


➀ K R I ST I N A J O H N S O N ’ 17 WAITING ROOM Kristina Johnson ’17 helms Waiting Room, an exhibition space that champions and supports local artists, and runs it from her basement in Minneapolis. Instead of a traditional, waiting-to-bediscovered gallery, Waiting Room is intended to be an active, responsive, and transitional space for artists to show their work, grow audiences, and build community. Johnson features artists from primarily the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota. “One of the objectives of Waiting Room is to bridge the gap between


institutions and what happens when you graduate from art school,” says Johnson. “I’m working directly with people–reaching out to students going to MCAD, the U of M, Macalester–and working with them to address the space in a unique way.” The pandemic forced Waiting Room to go on temporary hiatus, but it also allowed Johnson to focus on some personal projects, like curating a show of her own mixed media work at the George Latimer Central Library. This spring, Johnson is piloting a studio residency program, and will open an exhibition in early June featuring a collaboration between Sam Dirck ’17 and Calvin Hafermann ’20. It will consist of painting, sculpture, prints, and a sitespecific installation thematically playing with subtle nuances of the space and camouflage. “MCAD taught me how to trust my own voice and how to communicate with all types of people. And to put artists first.” ➀ Kristina Johnson '17, director of Waiting Room. ➁ Video art by Michael Hansen installed at Waiting Room.

➂ C H R I STO P H E R AARON D E A N E S ’96 ROHO COLLECTIVE Christopher Aaron Deanes ’96 runs Roho Collective, a Twin Cities nonprofit that helps artists of color tap into creative outlets and guides them through practical issues. Currently the organization connects 47 creatives—including both established and emerging musicians, DJs, dancers, photographers, and visual artists—from across the country. Support comes in the form of creative workshops, opportunities for collaboration, and spaces to exhibit and sell work, as well as practical guidance on everything from marketing to grant writing to taxes. Under Deanes’s leadership with his wife Cara, who serves as executive director, the two have increased funding from a few thousand to over a hundred thousand dollars. In 2021, in response to the death of George Floyd, Deanes called members together to figure out a way to process the event. The collective were the first artists on the

➃ site before it became part of a large-scale protest. They created the first community mural within 24 hours of the murder. This creative act led to other art-healing events all over the metro area. A visual artist himself, who engages with students and families on culture and climate in the Fridley school district, Deanes doesn’t know how he balances it all. The throughline in all his work is engagement. “The ‘why’ and the ‘what’ I’m making are what MCAD gave me. The critiques that made me dive into the work are what constantly push me to ask how it all translates.” ➂ A public art mural in South Minneapolis organized by Roho Collective. ➃ Christopher Aaron Deanes '96, founder of Roho Collective.




K AT M I L L E R ’ 16, M FA MOONLIGHTING AS A FISHER Interdisciplinary artist Kat Miller ’16, MFA, was working at the Matthew Barney Studio in New York in the summer of 2016 and ready to get out of the city. When a friend called in need of help with the family fishing operation in Petersburg, Alaska, Miller took the bait.

A one-time sojourn has turned into an annual adventure. Miller now spends a month each year on the water in Alaska, longline fishing for cod and halibut. She is involved in every aspect of the work, from maintaining and navigating the boat to baiting hooks, setting gear, hauling lines, and dressing fish. The experience of spending so much time on the boat has started to creep into Miller’s creative work too. She finds herself being drawn to materials like vinyl, aluminum, salt, natural elements like water, wind, and sunshine, as well as concepts like horizon, labor, gendered space, and remote or inaccessible places. She is currently working on a choreography project in the Hudson Valley that includes wave motion as a component. Thinking about Alaska, Miller says, “Looking at the same thing every day, you get a freedom from it.”

➂ ➀ Kat Miller '16, MFA, out on deck with her crew and an exceptional halibut. ➁ Miller's studio work referencing wave motion. ➂ Miller on the dressing table with her crew after hauling a set.


LU K E C H E N ’ 15 FROM ANIMATION TO SOFTWARE ENGINEERING Luke Chen ’15 came to MCAD with the desire to become a video-game designer, but shifted his plans after graduation when he got a job with video- and web-design agency SEE360.

➂ ➀ Luke Chen '15 with his data science degree. ➁ What began as an interest in 3D rendering expanded to a journey in computer vision. ➂ Today, Chen applies his experience in design and collaboration to contributing code for open-source projects.


Chen saw an opportunity to pivot when clients began asking for more and more backend web development. “I thought, how far can I take this? Where can I go with having more skills in software and computer science?” This realization led Chen to get an advanced degree at St. Thomas University in software engineering and data science, and he recently started a new position at Optum, a pharmacy benefit manager and health care provider, where he has been working on cybersecurity and open-source software. Chen’s training at MCAD is never far behind. In particular, he continually references what he learned about the creative design process. As he describes it, drafting code for how a new app might work is a natural progression from sketching how a 3D character might look, move, and behave. “Good design is something we all can universally comprehend,” Chen says. “How do we as artists figure out things as we go along, and make something on the screen believable?”

C A R LY H A AC K ’ 18 MAKING MOVES AS WRESTLER BADGER BRIGGS Needless to say, Carly Haack ’18 was a late bloomer when it came to wrestling. “Most people are childhood fans, but I got into it at 21,” Haack said, pointing to the influence of her friend M.S. Harness ’17, who ran MCAD’s indie wrestling club. Her new-found fandom influenced her senior project so prominently that it featured large-scale oil paintings of wrestlers and basketball players.

➂ ➀ Carly Haack '18 as Badger Briggs. ➁ A match against JORDAN in North Dakota for Timebomb Pro Wrestling. ➂ A death match against Orin Veidt.

Haack made an even bigger leap into the wrestling world after graduation, when she enrolled at a professional wrestling school called The Academy in Brooklyn Park, MN. After eight months of intense training, she made her debut as Badger Briggs—a name inspired by Japanese female wrestlers in the ’80s and ’90s with an added nod to her Wisconsin roots. The creativity Haack nurtured at MCAD also plays a major role in her wrestling. As she puts it, the sport functions as a kind of performance art piece or “muscle theater.” For the character’s storylines—including death matches—Haack taps into her improv skills. Starting a professional wrestling career during COVID-19 has been a challenge, but last year Haack was making several monthly appearances at venues around the Twin Cities as well as some in North Dakota, Nebraska, and Indiana. She likens it to a touring indie band. Currently sidelined by a torn ACL, Haack hopes to be back on the circuit by July this year. No doubt that Badger Briggs will live to see another day.


ADRIANA R I M P E L ’09 SHINING BRIGHT AS LADY MIDNIGHT Lady Midnight is the alias of Adriana Rimpel ’09, the acclaimed Minneapolis-based vocalist and performance artist. The moniker was born in 2012, when Rimpel collaborated with former classmates Andrés Guzmán ’09 and Feng Meng Vue ’10 on the electronic arthouse project VANDAAM.

➂ ➀–➂ Different sides of Lady Midnight, a.k.a. Adriana Rimpel '09.


As Lady Midnight, Rimpel has released a solo album and been featured on numerous albums, working with local, national, and international electronic producers. Her live performances involve intricate sets, lighting, and costumes, whose inspiration can be traced back in part to Rimpel’s work as a photography major at MCAD. For her senior show, she created a series of installations in the form of still-life rooms, which could be seen through little holes in the wall. “I say I am an artist first, instead of an entertainer, because that is how I look at what I’m making. It’s part of a larger artistic conversation,” says Rimpel. Giving herself the freedom to explore artistically has always been important to Rimpel. In October 2021, her work found a major new audience when the multidisciplinary artist Kara Walker commissioned her to score music for the narrative film, Prince McVeigh and the Turner Blasphemies, at a New York gallery. The resulting piece—a shifting orchestration of marching band, ragtime, soul, Black spirituals, and rock melodies—was a departure in style, but also a natural progression. Rimpel looks to Walker as an example of an artist who also refuses to be defined by any one mode of expression. “In school, it can seem like there is one pathway and all these steps that you have to take,” she says. “Just because you start out in one thing doesn’t mean it’s your final destination. There’s no limit to who you can be while you are drawing breath on this earth.”

➁ ➀ Greg Hoffman '92. ➁ Hoffman's book, Emotion By Design, was published in spring 2022 by Hachette Book Group.


Over the course of a twenty-seven-year Nike career—from intern to Chief Marketing Officer—Greg Hoffman ’92 led teams in shaping and expressing Nike’s brand voice and identity through storytelling and experiences. His new book, Emotion By Design: Creative Leadership Lessons from a Life at Nike, brings to life the powerful role of creative leadership in business and shares how brands can forge deeper emotional connections with their audiences. “It’s fitting that MCAD gets featured in the first and last chapters," say Hoffman, who also currently serves on the the MCAD Board of Trustees. “In many ways, MCAD was the creative catalyst that set me forth on the journey to this moment.”



INTERVIEW WITH PAUL BAUKNIGHT BY ADAM ERICKSON MCAD’s new Civic Scholar in Residence program is designed to deepen relationships between the college and select Twin Cities community leaders who are developing cultural strategies for the public good. During 2021–22, Paul Bauknight is the first to occupy this role, receiving a stipend and access to the physical, social, and technological services at MCAD, allowing for time and space to incubate and accelerate critical, community-defined solutions. The program is made possible through a generous gift from longtime MCAD supporters Mark Addicks and Tom Hoch. A graduate of Virginia Polytechnic University with a degree in architecture, Bauknight currently serves as the Project Implementation Director at the Minneapolis Parks Foundation. He was the principal designer behind several North Minneapolis building projects including the Urban League, Plymouth Christian Youth Center, and Plymouth Avenue Townhomes. He previously held leadership positions with the African-American Men Project for Hennepin County, A Minnesota Without Poverty, and Urban Homeworks. “I see myself as a changemaker. How do I support community in making these things happen? The longer I’ve done this work, the more I come to see that getting into the profession and bringing your lived experience are critical—not for just communities of color, but all communities. Creative perspective is the best way to solve problems.” Read the entire interview at ➀ Paul Bauknight, MCAD's new Civic Scholar in Residence.


A F R E S H TA K E O N A N E AT ST R E E T FAVO R I T E LU’S REBRAND BY JUNE LE ’20 June Hien Le ’20 is the driving force and AIGA-award-winner behind the rebrand of Lu’s Sandwiches, the beloved banh mi shop on nearby Eat Street. Le majored in illustration in MCAD, but graphic design was always part of her professional plans. “I was in love with illustration, but I wanted to have another skill where I could support my career,” says Le. “So outside of my illustration courses, I went full force with graphic design.” The owner of the sandwich shop approached Le after seeing some of her traditional Vietnamese-style work in her portfolio. After digging into the project, Le proposed a more modern take on the shop’s branding. “You have to go back to the history of banh mi,” says Le. “Street food, and especially banh mi, didn’t appear until more recently. A very traditional style doesn’t fit the image of banh mi. As someone who understands Vietnamese culture, I told him that we needed something else.”

Le has advice for MCAD students who are just starting their careers: “Be confident and never afraid to show your ideas. Use MCAD as a push forward. Believe in yourself. If you have an idea, and you don’t say it out loud, no one will hear you.” She offered another piece of advice for everyone; Next time you go to Lu’s Sandwiches, try the new coconut croissant. ➀–➂ New branding elements for Lu's Sandwiches, designed by June Hien Le '20.



MERCH MADNESS From T-shirts to tin cups, check out the fresh college merch updated with MCAD’s new branding. Now available at the Art Cellar. Place an order with the Art Cellar at or email


BIENNIAL BREAKTHROUGH THE WORK OF PAO HOUA HER ʼ09 TAKES CENTER STAGE AT THE WHITNEY MUSEUM Pao Houa Her ’09 makes powerful photographs documenting the Hmong diaspora in the United States. Drawing from traditions of Western portraiture and still life, her work represents a narrative extension of her family’s memories of fleeing Laos and the stories of ethnic Hmong communities following the Vietnam War. A rotating selection of Pao’s photography is now on view at the Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet It as It’s Kept through September 5. She spoke with MCAD’s Communications Marketing Manager Gregory Gestner. Did you arrive at MCAD with the idea to major in photography? How did your work evolve? I was studying at a community college and close to graduating with an associate degree. When I took a photography class, it changed the trajectory of my life. I transferred to MCAD knowing that I was going to major in photography. I didn’t know what I wanted, but I knew that I wanted to make photographs. It was at MCAD where I learned how to see, how to think, and how to read photographs. Did you have a mentor or favorite teacher? I was mentored by the whole Photography Department. David [Goldes], Katherine [Turczan], Stevie [Rexroth], and Rik [Sferra] are all my favorites. David connected photography and poetry for me. Katherine taught me to see. Stevie taught me to see my subject. Rik taught me to see light. They all helped me build my foundation so I am really grateful to them.


How did you end up going to Yale after MCAD? I knew before I graduated from MCAD that I wanted to go to graduate school, so my junior and senior years I worked hard to build my portfolio. If you had asked me two years before applying if I knew what Yale was, I would have said no. With the help of Katherine, David, Stevie, Rik, and Paul Shambroom, I got into all the programs I applied to. What has it been like being selected for the Whitney Biennial? What work will you be showing? Before being selected for the Whitney Biennial, the process was a mystery to me. Back in early March 2020 I received a text from my gallerist telling me that the Whitney curators wanted to do a studio visit. After meeting with the curators, I was selected. I couldn’t tell anyone, so for two years I kept the secret. The Biennial will show six rotating bodies of work. To be honest, I don’t know how I feel about being in the show. As an artist I am taught that this is what I should strive for. But at the end of the day, I am just Pao Houa Her from Minnesota making work about her own community and happy to be given the chance to show it in New York. What’s next for you? Any projects on the horizon you’d like to share? After the Whitney Biennial, I will have an exhibition at Walker Art Center. I’ve been photographing the West and its landscape, specifically northern California. Hmong folks have been moving there and buying up land to cultivate marijuana. I’m interested in the landscape, its history, the Hmong people there, and their history of agriculture in Southeast Asia and in America. ➀ Pao Houa Her ʼ09 ➁ untitled, 2021, light box, 75 x 60 in. ➂ My grandmother’s favorite grandchild, 2017, digital archival print, 8 x 10 in. ➃ Hmong Veteran, Attention series, 2012, archival pigment print, 50 x 40 in. ➄ untitled, 2016, archival digital ink jet print, 20 x 16 in.


G EO R G E M O R R I S O N ’43 FO R E V E R HONORED BY UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE The legacy of celebrated artist George Morrison ’43 has continued to grow even decades after his death in 2000. Beginning this spring, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is offering a series of Morrison’s abstract landscape paintings in their 2022 line of Forever Stamps.


Announcing the collection, USPS called Morrison “one of the nation’s greatest modernist artists who challenged prevailing ideas of what Native American art should

➀ be, arguing that an artist’s identity can exist independently from the nature of the art he creates.” Born in 1919 in Chippewa City, Minnesota, Morrison attended MCAD when it was known as Minneapolis School of Art. In his memoir Turning the Feather Around, Morrison said this of his favorite teacher Alexander Masley: “He was instrumental in shaping my ideas… He encouraged more open experiment, more freedom, more individual expression. That was right up my alley.” Morrison went on to join a celebrated circle of Abstract Expressionists in New York who included Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, and Willem de Kooning. During his six-decade career, he was also an influential instructor, teaching at several schools on the East Coast. Morrison returned to Minnesota to

teach at the University of Minnesota until his retirement in 1983. Today, Morrison’s work continues to endure and inspire, and is included in many museum collections, including the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The stamp collection is available for purchase at and post offices nationwide.

➀ In May 1969, Morrison visited MCAD to receive an honorary master's degree. He is shown here in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts Auditorium, viewing student work in the commencement show. ➁ The George Morrison commemorative Forever Stamps will show five of Morrison’s abstract landscapes. Images courtesy United States Postal Service.


STAY C O N N EC T E D BUILD YOUR SKILLS New this spring, alumni are eligible to take one Continuing Education course per season for only $25. Act soon as seats are limited! Discover all online and in-person offerings—including Landscape Painting, Screenprinting, Augmented Reality, Experimental Animation, and more— at For more information email UPDATE YOUR ADDRESS Visit or email TO SHARE COMMENTS OR IDEAS Let us know about an exhibition, publication, event, award, or other important milestones at or email GET SOCIAL Follow MCAD on Instagram and Facebook (@mcadedu) and Twitter (@mcad) and see what the community is making with #MakeMCAD. SUPPORT MCAD Raising scholarship funds is an ongoing commitment to attracting and retaining the very best students. Give a gift in support of MCAD scholarships at


A LU M N I A N D FA C U LT Y N OT E S Monkey with a Tool Belt, a picture book series by Chris Monroe ’84, was adapted for Netflix. Jon Renzella ‘06 was a guest on the printmaking podcast Hello, Print Friend. Longtime partners and collaborators Samantha French ’05 and Aaron Hauck ’05 returned to French’s hometown of Nisswa to paint a large outdoor mural. Kira Fennell ’21 garnered over 2.5 million views in a series of TikToks detailing her process work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Duck Stamp Contest. A commissioned painting by Jane Nicolo ’16 was featured at the Minnesota State Fair, and received fourth place in Oil/Acrylic/Mixed Media out of over 750 entries. In honor of Linda Christensen ’74, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz declared August 27 “Linda Christensen Day” in honor of her five decades of carving more than 550 sculptures out of 41,500 pounds of butter at the Minnesota State Fair. Alumni couple Sam and Kiley Busko ’17 are featured in the Watercolors and Wood exhibition at Legacy Hall on M State’s Fergus Falls campus. The work of George Halvorson ’75 was featured in a solo exhibition, New 22, at the Douglas Flanders Art and Associates Gallery in Edina, MN. The work of Julie Buffalohead ’95 was on view at Minneapolis Institute of Arts in The Contemporary Print: 20 Years at Highpoint Editions, an exhibition featuring a collection of work that is being archived by the museum. Kehayr Brown ‘19, Nico Sardina ‘19, Beau Tate ‘20, and Kieran Myles-Andrés Tverbakk ‘16 were featured in the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Franconia Sculpture Park. Ed Charbonneau ’06, MFA, launched Chromosphere: The Color Theory Podcast, which presents a series of conversations about color, color usage, and optics as they relate to theories of human color perception in the making of visual art and design. Ben Moren ’10 hosted an album listening night for the release of Singing Ice, a sound/music project put together during the pandemic while in isolation and traveling up North. Pao Houa ‘09 was announced as a finalist for the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Jodi Reeb ‘95 was featured in the internationally juried competition and exhibition Art Comes Alive. Queer Masses, the zine by Sarah Evenson ‘16 and Jade Juno ’16, was nominated for the 2021 Broken Pencil Award in the subcategory Best Art Zine. The rebranding of Lu’s Sandwiches by June Le ’20 was selected as a winner for the 2021 AIGA Minnesota Design Show. Deann Garcia ’15, MA, released a new sustainably focused podcast called Call to Action.


Alex Carlson ‘16 was the art director and programmer for Ollie-Oop, a game about a skateboarding dog named Ollie. Patricia Jacques ’18 launched United Wanderlust, an eclectic shop featuring collections of archival prints and art gifts inspired by travel. Cathy Ryan ‘07 won the 2022 Minnesota Book Artist Award for her artist’s book, Chronicle. Kelly Ludeking ’97 and Wenwen Liao ’14, MFA, appeared in a new online children’s streaming series, Jam Jobs. Anavi Mullick ‘20 has published The Call of the Sarus Crane, a children’s book designed by her and her mom that follows a pair of Sarus Cranes through their journey of courtship, nesting, and parenthood. Photographs in combination with verse create a visual narrative telling the story of these birds. Ajda Mesic ’19, MA, gave her input on synthetic down for Consumer Report’s article “Choosing Between Synthetic Down and Natural Down for a Winter Coat.” Benjamin Merritt ’19 was featured in a solo exhibition, A Feather Plucked From Its Bird, at Dreamsong, with an accompanying artist book produced at Highpoint Center for Printmaking. Alexis Akagawa ’01 was awarded the 2022 NAFSA: Association of International Educators Advocate of the Year Award. Comrade Himbo, a comic by Mad Sparrow ’18, was reviewed by Women Write About Comics. María José Castillo ’18, MFA, and Xavier Tavera ’14 were featured in the Minnesota Museum of American Art’s exhibition Mestizaje: Intermix-Remix, curated by faculty member Nancy Ariza. The illustrations of Teagan White ’12 were installed in the Welcome to the Museum series Oceanarium. Kelly Ludeking ‘97 was profiled by the St. Paul Pioneer Press about his professional metalwork and iron-pouring festival at his historic St. Paul foundry. Ta-Coumba T. Aiken ’74 was named a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow. This poster is an edited, chronological list of alumni achievements over the past year. Keep us posted about your milestones at or email About the poster artwork “This mask photograph with a red garment symbolizes the invisibility of brown people in the U.S. It is making a reference to feeling like a ghost while bleeding out. But even with these obstacles, we are shining through and making it happen one day at a time.” –Alondra M. Garza ‘21, MFA

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