October 2011 cover SCAN"St. Catherine University St. Catherine University
June 2012
 
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From the Heart

What about Pink?

Each June for the past 13 years, a diverse group of advanced women artists has gathered at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) to embark on an intensive learning experience like none other offered in the country.

Established in 1999 and co-sponsored by St. Catherine, the Women's Art Institute is an immersive, three-week summer studio program that brings together women artists of various ages and backgrounds to explore questions about their work and its relationship with the community. It is the only program of its kind in the country that offers students college credit.

"This program is about advancing women artists' work," explains Associate Professor of Art and Art History Patricia Olson, who co-teaches the Women's Art Institute with the program's founder, MCAD Professor Elizabeth Erickson. "We are trying to open up these artists to their own creative sources through a variety of techniques including mentorship, discussion, studio time and critique."

Earlier this year, when Erickson announced she was retiring from MCAD, St. Kate's jumped at the opportunity to bring the nationally recognized program to its Department of Art and Art History. "The Women's Art Institute fits in perfectly with the University's mission to empower women to lead and influence," says Olson, who will take over as director next year andexpand the program to four weeks. Erickson will stay on as co-teacher.

In 1976, Olson and Erickson were among the founding members of the arts advocacy organization and gallery Women's Art Resources of Minnesota (WARM). Olson and Erickson created the Women's Art Institute because they saw that women artists continue to face many of the same struggles that they did in the 1970s.

"We have this myth in our culture of the isolated artist, the genius in the garret," says Olson. "This program was built upon the belief that art happens in community and sometimes for community."

Each year the program's curriculum is developed collaboratively from questions the students bring to the program. The queries range from the practical ("How do I get my work shown in galleries?") to the philosophical ("What about pink?") and are distilled down to seven core questions that eventually become the program's curriculum.

"The world has been waiting 5,000 years for images by women," says Olson, who is writing a book with Erickson that documents the reflections, processes and works created through the Women's Art Institute. "We're trying to help those images come forward." — Colby Johnson

 

From the Heart Jenaya Farkell '13Minneapolis staff and students like Jenaya Farkell '13 wore red T-shirts to promote the campaign.

 

Seeing Red, Doing Good

More than 200 "Bring It!" wristbands were distributed as part of the recent "Bringing Good to the Neighborhood" campaign on St. Kate's Minneapolis campus.

The campaign, devised by Director of Student Life Michael Baynes, challenged students, faculty and staff to do good deeds and be kind to people they interact with every day. Activities included a pledge drive and "Good Neighbor of the Week" in the residence hall.

"My goal was to have each of us focus on the good around us, amid all the challenges that are going on in the world," says Baynes. "The overall response has been upbeat, and 'bringing good' has become a phrase I hear many times a day."

The campaign will run again in January, with Baynes aiming for participation among the entire St. Kate's community. — Pauline Oo