Women's Art Institute Summer Studio Intensive Course

Women's Art Institute Update

Due to the ongoing uncertainty about the length and breadth of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Women's Art Institute has been canceled for June 2020. All applications received this spring will be held for 2021.

About the Summer Studio Intensive

The Women’s Art Institute Summer Studio Intensive course is for contemporary women artists of all ages and backgrounds interested in refining their artistic process and exploring questions around women and art. Creating a community that shares, reflects and produces art, the Institute is a rich experience that offers you intensive studio work and one-on-one coaching from faculty.

The four-week program includes sessions Monday through Friday with some field trips and evening presentations from guest artists, critics and art historians. You will have all-day access to the large, sunlit studios and shop facilities of the Visual Arts Building on the University’s beautiful campus.

This innovative and rigorous program is designed for artists from a variety of disciplines who have mastered basic skills and are now seeking deeper levels of understanding and expression in their work.

Woman paints in gallery as part of the Women's Art Institute
  • Defining your goals as a woman artist
  • Deepening your studio work with individual tutoring emphasizing intention, form, content and context
  • Developing your portfolio of work
  • Gaining insights into the work of contemporary women artists
Two women work on large paintings at the Women's Art Institute

Practicing artists and art students from any discipline must have a minimum of two years of college-level art training or the equivalent. Undergraduate credit is available.

Applications for the June 2020 sessions must be received by April 27.

Download an application

Email for more information

Women's Art Institute participant at work on her art piece
Guest Artists, Critics, and Art Historians

The Women’s Art Institute invites artists, curators, and historians from across the country to discuss a variety of issues and topics.

Many readily admit, “I don’t give this presentation anywhere else!” Their unique perspectives will deepen your experience and inspire your creative process.

Katayoun Amjadi is an Iranian-born ceramicist and sculptor. Her art is an attempt to understand the relationship between past and present, tradition and modernity, and individual versus collective identity, as well as to spur discussion about our understanding of time and the tangled roots of our histories.

Leslie Barlow is an oil painter whose current work employs the figure and the personal to explore race and identity, representation, multiculturalism, and "otherness." She has exhibited her work both locally and nationally, and currently teaches at the University of Minnesota and Juxtaposition Arts.

Harriet Bart creates evocative content through the theater of installation, the narrative power of objects, and the intimacy of artist’s books. Her work will be honored with a retrospective exhibition and monograph at the Weisman Museum at the University of Minnesota in 2020, as well as a concurrent show at Minneapolis Institute of Arts of her artist’s books and works on paper.

Hazel Belvo is a professor emerita at Minneapolis College of Art and Design and a mentor at the Grand Marais Art Colony. Her series of paintings, Resurrection: A Feminist Perspective, was shown at the 2017 Women’s Congress for Future Generations.

Gabrielle Civil has premiered 50 original performance art works around the world and was lead organizer for the historic “Call & Response: Black Women & Performance" symposium. She is the author of the performance memoirs Swallow the Fish (2017) and Experiments in Joy (2019). The aim of her work is to open up space.

Linda Gammell is a photographer and college instructor in media and photography. She has a deep interest in social issues, including land practices, food, gender and feminism.

Amy K. Hamlin is an associate professor of art history at St. Catherine University. In her research and classrooms, she considers the politics of representation and intersectionality in contemporary art and visual culture. She is also engaged in experimental pedagogies, art history as a social practice, and advocacy for the arts & humanities.

Shana Kaplow is a visual artist whose ink-on-paper installations play with notions of psychology, absence, global systems and furniture. She was recently an artist-in-residence at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans.

Joyce Lyon, visual artist (drawing and artist’s books,) Professor Emerita, University of Minnesota, makes work relating to place (Crosby Farm Park, Wistman’s Wood, Conversations with Rzeszow) and passage (Found in Translation, Some Pages for a Book of Hours). 

Diane Mullin is Senior Curator at the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota. Her scholarly and curatorial work focuses on modern and contemporary art, including gender issues in 1970s body work and changing notions of subjectivity.

Erica Spitzer Rasmussen creates handmade paper garments and small editions of hand-bound books. Her current work explores issues of identity and corporeality. She is a professor at Metropolitan State University and exhibits internationally.

Michal Sagar is the Visual Arts Department Head at Breck School in Minneapolis. She has worked in paint, encaustic, and sculpture, bringing a sense of the essential mark into these materials. In her most recent work, she draws together remnants of history—artistic, social, and personal—edging toward a new vision of untamed wildness.

Sandra Menefee Taylor is an installation and book artist whose work was recently celebrated with a retrospective and book at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, ND.

Paige Tighe is a visual and performance artist, and co-founder of Feminist Video Quarterly. Her work Walk with Me has been performed all over the country and its artist’s book was released in 2014. She currently is working on a series of paintings and sculptures.

Dyani White Hawk is a painter and curator of Sicangu Lakota, German, and Welsh ancestry. She has exhibited her work nationally and was a 2017 Native Arts and Culture Foundation Mentor Artist Fellow. From 2010 to 2015, White Hawk was a curator for the Minneapolis gallery All My Relations.

Visiting and guest artists, critics and art historians are subject to change.

What Participants Say

The Women’s Art Institute helped me understand what subjects were relevant to me as an artist and how to express them through my work. Since completing the WAI, I have received a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant, a Metropolitan Regional Arts Council Next Step grant, and I became a recipient of the MCAD-Jerome Foundation Early Career Artist Fellowship.— Marjorie Fedyszyn

The Women’s Art Institute creates a space for women to see themselves reflected in the innovative artists of the past and the captivating artists of our present. I was immensely challenged and given space to grow and experiment in my medium, which enabled an artistic growth and freedom to create.—  Julia Nellessen

The WAI became a life-changing experience through thoughtful instruction, reflective classroom sessions, engaging artists and art historians, and hours of studio work while taking risks without judgement.  — Kathy Daniels

WAI was a huge catalyst in my art career. With guidance from the faculty, fellow students, and the many guest artists I met, I made so much progress in my artwork. And even more importantly, I grew to embrace my identity as an artist. — Vatina McLaurin


Director and Lead Instructor: Patricia Olson

Professor Emerita of the Department of Art and Art History of St. Catherine University, Olson is a founding member of WARM (Women’s Art Resources of Minnesota) and holds an MFA in Visual Studies from Minneapolis College of Art and Design. A painter and designer, her work addresses myths, cultural stories and art history from a woman’s perspective. She has exhibited her work nationally, and public collections include Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota Historical Society and Wilson Library, University of Minnesota. Olson and founder Elizabeth Erickson have been designated “Changemakers” by the Minnesota Women’s Press in 2009 and 2014 for their work with the Women’s Art Institute.

Visiting Artists/Instructors

Elizabeth Erickson, Institute founder and professor emerita of Minneapolis College of Art and Design, has been a painter, poet and educator for more than 40 years, and she holds an MFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Her career highlights include participation in Global Focus in Beijing in 1995, and in Art and Healing at the Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College in 1992. Her work is in many public and private collections, notably Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Walker Art Center, General Mills and 3M. While retired from daily teaching at the Institute, she continues her deep involvement and interest.

Hend Al-Mansour left a cardiology career and earned an MFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and an MA in art history from University of St. Thomas. Using vibrant colors, her screenprints integrate stylized figures, Arabic calligraphy, and geometric design. She constructs spaces that recall both Bedouin tents and Islamic architecture. Recently she has expanded her interests to animation and video installation. Hend is a recipient of a 2019 Minnesota State Art Board Artist’s Initiative grant, a 2018 McKnight visual art fellowship, a 2013/14 Jerome Fellowship for Printmaking, and the 2012 Juror’s Award of the Contemporary Islamic Art exhibition in Riyadh. She is among the 100 most powerful Arab women in the online magazine Arabian Business. She has shown and lectured regionally, nationally and internationally.

Justine DiFiore is a painter based in Minneapolis where she lives and works as an artist and a nursing assistant. Her familial roots are in New York City where her interest in painting was sparked by seeing a huge show of Vincent Van Gogh’s work at the Metropolitan Art Museum in 1984. From New York, she attended Oberlin College, received a BA in Studio Art, and moved to Minneapolis. After immersing herself in social justice activism in the 90s, she returned to art as a primary means of expression. Her current practice involves an exploration of the human body with a specific interest in creating work that challenges dominant narratives of the female form. She participated in the WAI as a student in 2013 and teaching assistant in 2014. Justine has shown her work widely in the Twin Cities area.

Carolyn Halliday has been showing her work nationally and internationally for nearly two decades. She has earned many awards, including a 2013 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist’s Initiative Grant. In 2015 she was appointed the first member and chair of the National Artists Advisory Council for the Textile Center. She is a recipient of Textile Center’s Spun Gold Award 2020, honoring artists and advocates for a lifetime of dedication to fiber art and the Textile Center. Her work is in the collections of Minnesota Historical Society and Weisman Art Museum. In 2014, she was a featured visual artist for an episode of public television’s production Minnesota Originals.