Women's Art Institute

Summer Studio Intensive Course — June 3–27, 2020

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.

  • 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

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 29.

Email for more information

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.

Hend al-Mansour started a second career in art after practicing medicine for 17 years, earning an MFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design and an MA in Art History. A McKnight fellow for 2018-2019, her work addresses gender equality using Arab and Islamic aesthetics.

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.

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.

Patricia Briggs is Director of Galleries, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the Weeks Gallery at Jamestown Community College, New York. She is an art historian, curator and critic whose writing appears in Artforum International, Women’s Art Journal, and other print and online journals.

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.

Elizabeth Erickson, Institute founder and professor emerita of Minneapolis College of Art and Design, is a painter, poet and educator. Her interests include Hildegard of Bingen, the prairie landscape, light and the mark.

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 and professor at St. Cloud State University whose work plays with notions of psychology, absence, global systems and furniture. She has recently shown her work at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and Tinajin Art Museum in China.

Johnnay Leenay was the Diversity in the Arts Curatorial Fellow at the Minnesota Museum of American Art in St. Paul and is now pursuing opportunities on the East Coast. She is interested in how art can contribute to critical conversations around social issues.

Joyce Lyon, visual artist (drawing and artist’s books) and professor emerita at the University of Minnesota, is interested in pilgrimage as it relates to journey — physical, intellectual, spiritual — and to the process of translating experience into art.

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.

Nancy Robinson's surreal self-portraits have won many grants and awards. She has exhibited her work both locally and nationally, including a 2009 solo show the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

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.

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.

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. Her work Walk with Me performed and created connection between herself and a participant. She co-founded Feminist Video Quarterly, and is currently working on a meditation art series and weaving on a Saori Japanese loom.

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.

Petronella Ytsma is a photographer whose work is concerned with social justice and ecological issues. She explores remnants and legacy, memory and mirror, and reflects on the civil contracts inherent between image maker, giver and viewer.

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

What Participants Say

During the Woman’s Art Institute, I learned that my work and journey as an artist is important. I am part of a larger group of women in history whose ideas and creations matter. — Ana Laura Juarez

WAI was full of robust creative exchange with talented artists from diverse backgrounds. The experience bolstered my artistic voice and was a potent incubator for new work. — Sarah Kusa

I experienced a powerful coming together of other female artists to share our talents, our doubts, our fears, our knowledge and, most importantly, our support for one another.  — Bre Atkinson

For me, the WAI was a critical point of development in my work that has informed my creations for the past decade. — Carolyn Halliday


Patricia Olson, Institute director and professor emerita in the Department of Art and Art History at St. Catherine University, has practiced painting and design for more than 30 years and is a founding member of the Women’s Art Resources of Minnesota (WARM). She received an MFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

AK Garski (pronouns: they/them/theirs), Institute co-instructor, is a painter who also creates installations and performance art. Garski has a long history of commitment to the Women’s Art Institute: They first attended as a student, and have served twice as a teaching assistant. Garski is a magna cum laude graduate of St. Catherine University with a double major in studio art and women’s studies, and earned their MFA and MA in History and Theory of Contemporary Art from the San Francisco Art Institute.

Elizabeth Erickson, Institute founder and professor emerita of Minneapolis College of Art and Design, has been a painter, poet and educator for more than 30 years. 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. While retired from daily teaching at the Institute, she continues her deep involvement and interest.