Laura Wennstrom, teaching artist, Clutter Brain, collected small plastic objects and toys from home, thread, vintage baby quilt stretched over frame

Mia’s staff art show celebrates the talent within

Mia’s Community Corridor, just off the first-floor lobby, is currently lined with art by museum staff, from security guards to front-of-house folks, educators to exhibition designers. Turns out that spending the day procuring, protecting, or interpreting art goes a long way toward inspiring one’s own, and the dozens of pieces in the show suggest that the power of art extends well beyond the museum walls. Here, a selection of staff artworks and the stories behind them.

Laura Wennstrom, teaching artist for Family Day and Creativity Academy, Clutter Brain, collected small plastic objects and toys from home, thread, vintage baby quilt stretched over frame

“I am the parent to two small children, and I am continuously amazed at how much small plastic junk kids seem to shed on a daily basis. After continuously stepping on these tiny bits and parts, I started confiscating them and sewing them onto a vintage baby quilt. The collected assemblage is a compelling visual display of the constant labor placed on parents (mothers) to teach our children to care for, organize, and put away their toys (constantly clean up after our kids). This specific collection of disposable plastic objects speaks to the environmental anxiety embedded in our homes as we teach our children to save the Earth while simultaneously showering them with an unending collectible stream of miniature plastic reproductions of American luxuries.”

Quintin Joseph, Security, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, mixed media

“Self-described as a super-introvert, Quintin joined Mia in 2019, coming from the Walker Art Center. Born in Northside Minneapolis, he graduated from Augsburg University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art. His distinctive style of layered mosaics blends elements of nature, repurposing, and technology.”

William Skodje, Registration, Concert Ukulele

“I began building ukuleles at the beginning of the pandemic—this is my 24th.”

Matthew Bakkom, Security, Interrupted Projection (Blue Leader), 35mm film, extruded plastic film cores, acrylic medium

“This work was created during the early stages of the twin pandemics of 2020 in the neighborhood of my studio in South Minneapolis: Covid-19, which stopped the world, and the revelations of systemic racism and violence revealed by the murder of George Floyd, which changed it and continues to do so. Based in my long-time negotiation with 35mm motion-picture film as a sculptural material, this work was deeply informed by the circumstances of that time and place.”

Elizabeth Edwards, Visitor Experience, Why Can’t We Have Nice Things?, giclee print

“As I was leaving the museum one day, I noticed that a postcard we hand out to kids had been tossed into the garbage. It was perfectly resting on top of all the debris. It was a striking contrast: this beautiful, vibrant image among the pile of disposable consumerism.”

Rita Berg, Midwest Art Conservation Center (MACC), Florence at Night, solar plate etching

“Solarplate etching is a printmaking medium that combines painting or drawing techniques with the traditional intaglio process. A hand-painted image is transferred (or “etched”) onto a light-sensitive polymer plate, which is then inked and printed through a traditional etching press. This technique allows one to produce a wide range of texture, tone, and line work, and at the same time retain the art quality of a traditional etching. The print is a unique, hand-pulled impression of the image, executed on archival Rives BFK printmaking paper.”