McKnight Visual Artist Fellowships | Minneapolis College of Art and Design

McKnight Visual Artist Fellowships

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design is the administrative home of the McKnight Visual Artist Fellowships for mid-career artists.

The 2024 McKnight Fellowships application cycle is now closed. The 2024 fellows and jurors will be announced on Monday, June 3, 2024.

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About the McKnight Visual Artist Fellowships

Since 1982 the McKnight Fellowships for Visual Artists has rewarded talented Minnesota visual artists whose work is of exceptional artistic merit and who are at a career stage beyond emerging.

Each year six $25,000 fellowships in the visual arts category are awarded. The focus of the fellowship program is to connect fellows to national and international visiting critics, participate in a McKnight Discussion Series featuring fellows and invited critics, and work with each fellow to pursue additional professional development opportunities. In addition, the fellows have the opportunity to have their artwork professionally documented, access a range of MCAD facilities, and enjoy discounted MCAD Continuing Education classes. All McKnight Artist Fellows are eligible to receive eight hours of consultation support from Springboard for the Arts and participate in a one-two week residency facilitated by the Alliance of Artist Communities.

Contact Program Director Keisha Williams or Associate Fellowship Coordinator Melanie Pankau at or 612.874.3803 for more information.

About the McKnight Artist Fellowships Program

Founded on the belief that Minnesota thrives when its artists thrive, the McKnight Foundation’s arts program is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the country. Support for individual working Minnesota artists has been a cornerstone of the program since it began in 1982. The McKnight Artist Fellowships Program provides annual, unrestricted cash awards to outstanding mid-career Minnesota artists in fourteen different creative disciplines. Program partner organizations administer the fellowships and structure them to respond to the unique challenges of different disciplines. Currently the foundation contributes about $2.8 million per year to its statewide fellowships. For more information, visit McKnight Artist Fellowships.

About the McKnight Foundation

The McKnight Foundation is a Minnesota-based family foundation that advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and the planet thrive. Established in 1953, the McKnight Foundation is deeply committed to advancing climate solutions in the Midwest; building an equitable and inclusive Minnesota; and supporting the arts in Minnesota, neuroscience, and international crop research.

Meet the 2023 Fellows

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), on behalf of the McKnight Foundation, announces the six recipients of the 2023 McKnight Fellowships for Visual Artists: Tia-Simone Gardner, Kaamil A. Haider, Keren Kroul, Sieng Lee, Mark Ostapchuk, and Lindsay Rhyner. Designed to identify and support mid-career Minnesota artists, the McKnight Fellowships for Visual Artists provide recipients with $25,000 stipends, public recognition, professional encouragement from national visiting critics, an opportunity to participate in a speaker series, and a 1-2 week residency facilitated by the Artist Communities Alliance (ACA). The fellowships are funded by a grant from the McKnight Foundation and administered by MCAD.

The 2022 McKnight fellows were selected from a group of 177 applicants by a national panel of arts professionals. This year’s jurors were Allison Glenn, NY-based independent curator and writer; Adriel Luis, Curator (Digital & Emerging Practice), Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center; and Gina Phillips, New Orleans-based artist.

Black Power Station

Tia-Simone Gardner

Gardner is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and Black feminist writer. Working primarily with drawing, images, archives, and spaces, Gardner traces Blackness in landscapes, above and below the ground's surface. Ritual, disobedience, geography, and geology are recurring themes in her work. Gardner grew up in Fairfield, Alabama, across the street from Birmingham and learned to see landscape, capitalist extraction, and containment, through this place. She received her BA in Art and Art History from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. In 2009 she received her MFA in Interdisciplinary Practices and Time-Based Media from the University of Pennsylvania followed by her participation as a Studio Fellow Whitney Independent Study Program and her doctorate in Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies from the University of Minnesota. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Graphic of a figure on a green background

Kaamil A. Haider

Haider is a visual artist, graphic designer, and archivist. Through his practices, he researches the nuanced relationships between objects, shared meanings, and the heritage of contemporary Somali art, with a particular focus on memory. Haider incorporates diverse cultural, archival and oral references in his work. He is the co-founder, co-director and archivist of Soomaal House of Art, an artists-run organization and collective in Minneapolis. Haider holds a Master’s degree in Heritage Studies & Public History and BFA in graphic design from College of Design, University of Minnesota. He is the recipient of many prestigious awards, fellowships and grants, and currently teaches at Augsburg University.

The Shape of Memory installation

Keren Kroul

Kroul creates large-scale watercolor on paper paintings and paper installations. Examining identity through time, memory, and place, they are fantastical landscapes of the mind. Born in Haifa, Israel, to an Argentinean father and Israeli mother, Keren grew up in Mexico City, Mexico and San José, Costa Rica. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she teaches Art, Design, and Spanish. Kroul exhibits nationally, and has received support from private and state foundations, including: Creative Support for Individuals Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board (2023, 2022, 2021), a Next Step Fund Grant from the McKnight Foundation (2021), Artist Initiative Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board (2019, 2017, 2015), and a Jerome Foundation Exhibition Grant (2017). Honors include Semi-finalist for the McKnight Visual Artist Fellowship (2022, 2013, 2012), Finalist for the Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists (2017), and Finalist for the 2D Juried Category at ArtPrize (2016). Her work has been featured on television in MN Original (TPT-Twin Cities PBS), and in print publications including Paint Lab, Color Lab, Tangled Art, and New American Paintings. Upcoming one-person exhibitions include the Duluth Art Institute in Duluth, Minnesota, and St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Kroul holds a BA in Fine Arts from Brandeis University and an MFA in Painting from Parsons School of Design.

Flying horses illustration

Sieng Lee

Lee is a visual artist who exists in between being Hmong and American. He seeks to expand beyond the traditions of his community, and find a place in contemporary art. Lee believes that the artist can do and be more than a maker of objects and artifacts. The role of the artist is more than just to create, but to disrupt. His work has been supported by the Jerome Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Graphic Design and a Masters of Fine Arts from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Currently, he works as an artist-in-residence at White Bear Center for the Arts where he mentors, teaches, and supports other artists.

abstract painting

Mark Ostapchuk

Ostapchuk is a visual artist who makes paintings and drawings with various mediums. His images play with lush color schemes, quirky shapes, and obsessive patterns. The paintings’ iterations meander and travel through a determined layering, sanding, and rebuilding of opaque and translucent surfaces. Within the shapes and patterns are spaces, suggesting characters in situations and places. Ostapchuk lives in St. Paul and works from a Minneapolis studio. He received his MFA in drawing and painting from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Exhibits include Aura of Hoffman, University of Minnesota Gallery (now Weisman Art Museum); 8 McKnight Artists, Minneapolis College of Art and Design Gallery; Painting at the Nash, Katherine Nash Gallery, Minneapolis, MN; Mankato State University Art Gallery, Mankato, MN; Necessary Differences 2, Soap Factory, Minneapolis, MN; Veiled Travelers and Perceptions of Jazz, Phipps Center for the Arts, Hudson, WI; Standards, Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Ostapchuk is represented by and has curated exhibitions at Form + Content Gallery, Minneapolis, MN. His paintings are in Hennepin Healthcare Visual Arts Collection, Minneapolis, MN and Fairview Ridges Hospital, Burnsville, MN. Awards include a previous McKnight Foundation Artist Fellowship.

Quilted collage

Lindsay Rhyner 

Rhyner is a textile and mixed media artist living and working in Minneapolis Minnesota. Through experimentation and exploring different mediums, Rhyner discovered an interest in manipulating and collaging textiles, combining skills such as sewing, beading, collage, and painting. Rhyner is self taught in the textile arts and has been working in fiber for most of her career. She creates large-scale wall hangings from a variety of materials, mostly second-hand or recycled goods. She is inspired by the world and materials around her. Rhyner has attended residencies in Daegu, South Korea and Clichy, France. In 2016 she received a MCAD–Jerome Fellowship for Emerging Artists and had a solo show at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. More recently she has participated in exhibitions at the University of Minnesota and Parlour and Ramp Gallery in Chicago.

McKnight Visual Artist Video Series

2022 McKnight Visual Artist Fellows

Amanda Lovelee

Jonathan Thunder

Pao Houa Her

Emmett Ramstad

Lamar Peterson

Ruthann Godollei

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