Preston Drum | Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Preston Drum

Drum stands in front of paintings and found object art.
Preston Drum


MFA in Visual Studies
Current Career
Freelance Artist and Arts Educator
Minneapolis, MN

Preston Drum was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Memphis College of Art in 2006 and a Master of Fine Arts from Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2016. His paintings, sculptures, videos, and interactive installations explore notions of memory and performance through non-linear storytelling. Drum’s work is often site-specific and collaborative in nature, framing the audience as a participant in the art. His work has been exhibited throughout the Midwest and Southern United States at venues such as Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and The Walker Art Center. Drum is also a member of the Minnesota based artist group, CarryOn Homes, whose mission is to raise awareness of immigration issues through the creation of artworks. Drum lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, son, and small dog. When not in the studio, he works as an arts educator and occasional musician.

Which year did you graduate and what brought you to MCAD for your MFA? Could you speak a little bit about your background?

I graduated from MCAD in 2016. I had been looking at MCAD as a potential graduate experience since 2007, but life got in the way. For about 7 years I did various things like working in landscaping, building/operating a drive-in movie theatre, and I played in several bands that no one has ever heard of. After moving to Minnesota in 2012, I decided to take the plunge when I met the program director, Tom DeBiaso. I said if MCAD has people like this working here, I think I will like this place.

How did your art change while you were at MCAD?

I went into the program with a portfolio that was centered on easel painting. My work changed dramatically after entering the program, incorporating sculpture, installation, soundscapes, video, and performance. Since leaving the program. my work has been somewhat of a continuation and expansion of these ideas. I have spent the last few years building public artworks and interactive installations with the artist group CarryOn Homes. When my son was born in 2018, my painting activity exploded again. In 2019, I began to rework older paintings and eventually ended up making about 300 new and refurbished works while I was a work-from-home dad.

What is next? Any new projects or jobs that are in the pipeline?

Like many creatives, the pandemic has been detrimental to my creative output. However, recently I have been hard at work putting together an anthology of poems and drawings with the writer and musician Alex Rainey Ward. We are very excited to release this book as it takes a look back at the past 13 years of both of our careers. I am also planning on creating a site-specific installation at Rochester Art Center (MN) in the summer of 2021. Hopefully, the vaccine will be wildly available by then and guests of the art center will be able to engage with the work as they have with my past installations.

You donated work for the MCAD Art Sale to support our MFA 2020 Fund, which benefits future Black, Indigenous, and People of Color MFA students – thank you! What motivated you to contribute to this scholarship effort?

I felt it was the right thing to do. Unfortunately, the work I submitted did not sell in the art sale. But I will sell the work to anyone who wants to buy it and donate ALL the proceeds to the scholarship immediately.

Bernie painted illustration by Preston Drum

Made in USA painted illustration by Preston Drum

Painted public sculpture by Preston Drum

Illustration by Preston Drum