Artist Interviews

Video interviews with eight Native artists allow your students to learn about the artists’ lives in their own words and to view their art and other artworks in Mia’s Native art galleries. View multiple segments by individual artists, or mix and match to consider different artists’ responses to similar questions. Each video is less than 8 minutes. Discussion questions follow the videos to guide your students’ exploration of the rich interview content.

Jim Denomie

Jim Denomie, Anishinaabe (Ojibwe), is a painter and multimedia artist. He received his BFA from the University of Minnesota and has received numerous fellowship awards.



Heid Erdrich

Heid Erdrich is Turtle Mountain Ojibwe. She lives in Minnesota and works as a writer, teacher, and collaborator in the arts.



Gwen Westerman

Gwen Westerman is Dakhóta from the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. She is a visual artist and poet, holds a BA, MA, and PhD in English, and teaches at Minnesota State University, Mankato.



Video Discussion Questions

Teachers: Adapt this section to fit your management style and schedule.

Independent activity or centers: Students will write their thoughts, new findings, and questions on paper or on a white board in sentence form.

Small group or class: Students will turn-and-talk and share their thoughts, new findings, and questions with the class.


    What did you find interesting? Why?
    What were two new findings you learned?
    What are you still wondering about?
    Imagine you were to interview one of the artists.
    Whom would you interview? Why? What would you ask them?
    Think of an artwork you created. What inspired you to create it?
    Is there an important item or tradition in your family?
    Think about items like furniture, books, dishes, or jewelry. Why is that important to your family? Why do you think people hold onto important items like that?
    Only for a video with art displayed: Write down in sentence form or tell your partner, group, or class about the artwork shown. Think about the size, color, texture, designs, or figures.
    What did you like about it?
    How does it compare to other artworks you have seen?
    What caught your eye?
    Was your reaction and opinion of the art similar or
    different to the speaker in the video? What was the same? What was different?