Center for Empathy and the Visual Arts

Mia is collaborating with museum colleagues as well as social scientists, artists, educators, and others to research and explore practices for fostering empathy and global understanding through the power of art and to share these findings with the field.

Center for Empathy and the Visual Arts

Mia is collaborating with museum colleagues as well as social scientists, artists, educators, and others to research and explore practices for fostering empathy and global understanding through the power of art and to share these findings with the field.

About

In our increasingly divisive world, polarized by issues regarding politics, racial inequities, marriage equality, global warming, income disparities, and immigration policies, it becomes clear that our failures to understand other people’s feelings are exacerbating prejudice, conflict, and inequality. If we wish to develop not only a more equal society but a happier and more creative one, we will need to look outside ourselves and attempt to identify with the experiences of others. This critical skill is called empathy, which, according to Roman Krznaric, an expert on empathy, “has the power to transform relationships, from the personal to the political, and create fundamental social change.”

Art museums, with their collections filled with stories of humanity from across the globe, are well-positioned to play a vital role in helping people understand each other. Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) champions the power of art—and the responsibility of art museums—to spark curiosity and creativity, connect people across cultural differences, and engage our individual and shared values.

Research & Resources

White Paper
Learn more about the research goals and origins of the Center for Empathy and Visual Arts here.

Recommended Reading
Check out our experts’ recommended reading list on all things empathy and the visual arts here.

From the Field
Explore toolkits, curricula, and examples from other cultural institutions working with empathy here.

Related Press
Daley, Jason. “First Center for Empathy and Art Launched in Minneapolis.” Smithsonian Magazine. Dec. 2017

Greenberger, Alex. “With $750,000 Grant, Minneapolis Institute of Art Starts Up Center for Empathy and the Visual Arts.” ARTnews. Dec. 2017

Ross, Jenna. “Minneapolis Institute of Art gets big grant to study empathy.” Star Tribune. Dec. 2017

Now on View

Mapping Black Identities

Galleries 373 and 374

Taking inspiration from Mia’s recent acquisition of Frank Bowling’s map painting False Start (1970), “Mapping Black Identities” challenges the notion of Black identity as monolithic. Championing the diverse experiences of artists from America, Africa, and the diaspora, this exhibition seeks to amplify underrepresented voices and create connections around the concept of Blackness in contemporary art across time and place.

Upcoming Exhibitions

Just Kids

Harrison Photography Gallery

Perhaps no other subject has been so well documented as the lives of children. This is an exhibition of photographs of and by children, teens, and young adults, organized in partnership with middle and high school students.

Past Exhibitions

Jonathan Herrera Soto: In Between / Underneath (Entremedio / Por Debajo)

U.S. Bank Gallery

Jonathan Herrera Soto will create a new rendition of his installation “In Between / Underneath (Entremedio / Por Debajo).” The work will depict recently murdered and missing Mexican journalists, highlighting the record number of journalists killed.

Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists

Target Gallery

Art and Healing: In the Moment

Cargill Gallery

Art and Healing: In the Moment is an exhibition of artwork made by community artists in response to the fatal shooting of Philando Castile. Castile was an African-American man who grew up in Saint Paul. On July 6, 2016, he was fatally shot by a police officer in the nearby town of Falcon Heights after being pulled over for a traffic stop. He was 32 years old.

The Many Voices of Colonial America

Charleston Dining Room and Charleston Drawing Room, G336 and 337

The Charleston Dining and Drawing Rooms came from the 1772 home of Col. John Stuart, who served as Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Britain’s southern colonies and was also an owner of enslaved Africans.

Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation

Target Galleries

Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther ripped the fabric of European life by standing in open opposition to the most powerful men of his age. “Martin Luther : Art and the Reformation” examines his life and influence through the lens of artistic creation. Spectacular objects from both Catholic and Protestant contexts will highlight the role of art in the service of spiritual and earthly power.