picture of golden lady

Guiding Lights: Inspired by Folklore and Literature

Reception: Thursday, Jan. 28 from 5 - 7:30 p.m. followed by a panel discussion mediated by Seitu Jones from 6 - 6:45 p.m.

Show dates: Jan. 29 - Feb. 26

Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul Public Libraries and the East Side Freedom Library invite your participation in the Metro Big Read, a community-wide reading program featuring the book Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Starting with the kickoff event on Jan. 28 and continuing through March, the read will include a series of cultural events and discussions on issues of race, class, gender and the African American experience.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. This initiative offers grants to support innovative community reading programs designed around a single book and broadens our understanding of our world, our communities and ourselves. Saint Paul is one of 75 communities nationwide selected to participate in The Big Read between September 2015 and June 2016. Metropolitan State received a $14,200 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to promote and host The Big Read.

The public kick-off program features the opening of the exhibition Guiding Lights: Inspired by Folklore and Literature at The Gordon Parks Gallery. Artist and guest curator Seitu Jones will moderate a panel discussion. Following the discussion, The Big Read's keynote address will be delivered by Dr. John S. Wright, Morse-Amoco, distinguished teaching professor of African American and African studies and English at the University of Minnesota. Wright's address, Hurston as High Priestess: Their Eyes and the Hieroglyphs of African American Culture, will reference Hurston's 1934 essay, "The Characteristics of Negro Expression," and act as the pivotal point of reference for approaching the novel and its contexts.

This exhibition features the artwork of five local emerging African-American artists who have created mixed media works inspired by African-American folklore and literature. Participants include: Jeremiah Bey-Ellison (Minneapolis), Loretta Day (Saint Paul), Christopher Aaron Deanes (Minneapolis), Chrys Carroll (Minneapolis) and Jordan Hamilton (Minneapolis).

Regarding the exhibition, curator Seitu Jones says, "The participating artists consistently approach their work as interventions in eliminating systemic racism, while maintaining their individual artistic visions. Their artwork is framed by tradition, vision and culture."

Kinship Circle

Kinship Circle: An Exploration in Book Arts featuring the artwork of Regula Russelle

Reception: Thursday, Nov. 12 from 5 - 7:30 p.m. followed by a gallery talk by the artist from 7 - 7:30 p.m.

Show dates: Nov. 13 - Dec. 11 (closed for the Thanksgiving holiday Nov. 26-29)

This exhibition features the artwork of Metropolitan State University alumna Regula Russelle (Saint Paul). As a believer in civic engagement, Russelle said, "For decades I have promoted peace, social justice and environmental protection as a citizen volunteer." Russelle's handmade books can been found in some of the most prestigious collections in the world (such as the Museum of Modern Art and the British Library), it's not uncommon to see the artist on a Minneapolis street corner handing out her folios to passersby.

Regarding the exhibition, Erica Rasmussen, gallery director, said, "I have been a long-time admirer of Russelle's artwork. The craftsmanship that she demonstrates through her paper, books, letterpress and sculptural objects is commendable. And the thoughtful nature of her content causes pause. But perhaps what is most unique about Russelle's practice is the communal aspect. In her world, the handmade, limited edition book is not reserved for a privileged few. Her artwork is democratized through student involvement, poetry collectives and public art projects. Ultimately, Russelle's artwork is a hands-on experience for the maker and the viewer. As visitors to the gallery will see (and feel), many of her works push the boundaries of book art."



Reception: Thursday, Oct. 8 from 5 - 7:30 p.m. followed by a gallery talk by the artist from 7 - 7:30 p.m.

Show dates: Oct. 9 - Nov. 6

Describing her work, Krumm said, "For over a decade, I have been engaged with an ongoing body of work that investigates relationships between labor, gender, duality, time and culture. My personal connections to place and community-connections that constantly develop, shift and are often transient and fleeting-inform the results. I embrace traditionally 'domestic' and gender-specific techniques in my creative practice, including crochet and blacksmithing. As working processes, these universal means of cultural production bear the mark of history and connect me to generations of makers."

Regarding the exhibition, Erica Rasmussen, gallery director, said, "Krumm's latest sculptural works may be her most compelling works yet. Beyond her impeccable craftsmanship, her artwork speaks of complimentary forces and elements; masculinity and femininity, industrial and domestic, flexibility and fragility, and familiarity and foreignness. Her new works, incorporating manipulated metals and hand-blown glass, are powerful and poetic."

Rephotographing the Mississippi

Rephotographing the Mississippi: Returning to the work of Henry Bosse

Reception: Thursday. Sept. 10 from 5 - 7:30 p.m. followed by a gallery talk by Faust from 7 - 7:30 p.m.

Show dates: Sept. 4 - Oct. 2

This exhibition features the landscape photography of two Minnesotans: Henry Bosse (deceased) and Christopher Faust (Minneapolis). Describing the premise of this project, Faust has said, "These new pieces are made from rephotographs of the original sites that Henry Bosse made from a series of images of the Upper Mississippi from 1880-1898. The original Bosse plates were made as part of a commission by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as well as for the primary purpose of mapping the upper channel for future development of locks and dams. I'm trying to go back to the original sites (seemingly impossible in most cases) and make a present day photograph."

Regarding the exhibition, Gallery Director Erica Rasmussen has stated, "This exhibition provides an exciting opportunity to cross time and examine the development of the one of Minnesota's most precious natural and cultural resources ... the mighty Mississippi. Through the lens of Faust's camera, viewers will be witness to numerous physical changes upon the landscape, as well the technical evolution of the camera."

Art of Eun-Kyung Suh

Art of Eun-Kyung Suh

Reception: Thursday, April 23 from 5 - 7:30 p.m followed by a gallery talk by the artist from 7 - 7:30 p.m.

Show dates: April 24 - July 23

This exhibition features the art of Eun-Kyung Suh who honors and memorializes the extreme diasporic experiences of Korean "Comfort Women" during World War II. Using silk organza, Suh creates boxes printed with photographic images of the victims and their journal entries. Silk boxes hold the stories told decades after their enslavement, give agency to "Comfort Women" and represent safe containers for personal memories.

Suh's work draws on the history of World War II, during which 200,000 young women were recruited to work in factories and instead forced into sexual slavery in Japan's military brothels in Asia. In the 1990s, the first South Korean woman came forward and requested a formal apology from the Japanese government and compensation for the thousands of victims. Today, only about 50 of the 239 women who publicly acknowledged their experiences are alive in South Korea. Suh incorporates portraits of the survivors and their testimonies into silk organza boxes to express symbolic sympathy for their suffering.

Regarding the exhibition, guest curator Margaret Miller (Minneapolis) said, "Eun-Kyung Suh's precise construction of delicate silk boxes invite you to draw close and for an intimate view of these women's lives. Their words floating on the surface of the translucent vessels hold them suspended in time waiting to be heard. Their tragic stories pull at your heart, making it impossible to leave untouched."

Student Salon 2015

Student Salon 2015

Reception: Thursday, March 26 from 5 - 7:30 p.m.

Show dates: March 27 - April 17

Student Salon 2015 features multi-media works produced by Metropolitan State students enrolled in undergraduate programs. From cast sculptures to black and white photography, this exhibit surveys the diverse form and content explored in class and beyond. Visual artists include: Anna Borg (Minneapolis), Carol Shikany (Minneapolis), Jay Smiley (Minneapolis), Isabel Subtil (St. Paul) and Mandy Swarts-Powers (Bloomington).

Regarding the exhibition, Gallery Director Erica Rasmussen has said, "This year's exhibition features work that was made by students taking coursework in Studio Arts and Intermedia Arts. Some of the students have developed arts focused majors, while others have pursued minors. Whatever the inspiration or the medium, it's a joy to see students develop their artistic voices."