McKnight Visual Artist Discussion Series: Jamillah James in conversation with Tia-Simone Gardner and Jay Heikes

The McKnight Visual Artist Fellowships are awarded annually to eight established Minnesota-based artists. This discussion series, pairing a nationally recognized art critic or curator with two McKnight Visual Artist Fellows, offers attendees an opportunity to learn more about the fellows as well as about how their work intersects with broader contemporary art ideas and concerns.


Tia-Simone Gardner is a cross-disciplinary artist whose practice engages Black feminism through a dialogue with ritual, iconoclasm, and geography. Gardner graduated from the University of Alabama in Birmingham with a BA in studio art and a minor in art history and received her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. She was recently awarded a grant from the Visual Arts Fund/Andy Warhol Foundation for her audio archive project The Black Power Station (2018)Gardner is a Birmingham, Ala., native.

Jay Heikes is known for his heterogeneous practice, which mixes and reinterprets a kaleidoscopic array of media—activating stories, puns, and irony in a cyclical meditation referencing the philosophical tradition of alchemy. Heikes received his MFA in sculpture from Yale University and is currently working on an exhibition for the Matrix program at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

Jamillah James is curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA). Previously, she was assistant curator at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and organized exhibitions and programs for Art + Practice in Leimert Park. In Los Angeles, James has organized the first solo institutional presentations of artists Abigail DeVille, Sarah Cain, Simone Leigh, Alex Da Corte, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, and Charles Gaines. James has held curatorial positions at the Studio Museum in Harlem and Queens Museum, and has independently organized exhibitions, performances, and screenings throughout the US and Canada since 2004.

Co-presented with Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Fellowships are funded by the McKnight Foundation and administered by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Free, but ticketed. Reserve tickets in advance at