2021 McKnight Visual Artist Fellowship Recipients | Minneapolis College of Art and Design

2021 McKnight Visual Artist Fellowship Recipients

Portraits of the 2021 McKnight Fellows


Minneapolis, MN—June 7, 2021—The Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), on behalf of the McKnight Foundation, has announced the six recipients of the 2021 McKnight Fellowships for Visual Artists: David Bowen, Mara Duvra, Ben Moren, Rotem Tamir, Dyani White Hawk, and the collaborative Dream the Combine, Jennifer Newsom, and Tom Carruthers.

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 participate in a 1-2 week residency facilitated by the Alliance of Artist Communities (AAC). The fellowships are funded by a grant from the McKnight Foundation and administered by MCAD.

The 2021 McKnight fellows were selected from a group of 199 applicants by a panel of arts professionals of varying backgrounds whose careers intersect with the visual arts in different ways. This year’s jurors were Jason Franz, artist, educator, and director of Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati; Arnold Joseph Kemp, artist and educator at School of the Art Institute; and Shamim Momin, director of curatorial affairs, Henry Art Gallery in Seattle.

Jason Franz reflected on the jurying process: “I was very pleased that the jurors were asked to focus specifically on quality and merit in the review, ranking, and selection process for the Fellowships, and to avoid decisions based on personal taste. The entire pool of submissions and resulting set of finalists are a testament to the wide array of artful things being made, in such varied media and approaches, by artists who themselves are quite diverse from across the state. As is always the case in such competitive juries, there were more artists deserving of recognition than awards available. Yet I applaud the rigor of the competition, as this itself builds strength–both at the individual level and broadly across the field. And this is good for the health of society.”


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 14 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.org/artistfellowships.


The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and 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.


Recognized nationally and internationally for its innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to visual arts education, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design is home to more than 700 students and offers professional certificates, bachelor of fine arts and bachelor of science degrees, and graduate degrees.


David Bowen is a studio artist and educator whose work is concerned with aesthetics that result from interactive, reactive and generative processes as they relate to intersections between natural and mechanical systems. His work has been featured in exhibitions at ZKM Karlsruhe, Fundación Telefónica Madrid, Eyebeam New York, Mattress Factory Pittsburgh, BOZAR Brussels, Itau Cultural São Paulo, The Israel Museum Jerusalem and Intercommunication Center Tokyo. His past awards include a Grand Prize from the Japan Media Arts Festival and Honorary Mention Prix Ars Electronica as well as residencies with AutoDesk Pier 9 San Francisco, Schmidt Ocean Institute and The Arctic Circle. Bowen is currently an Associate Professor of Sculpture and Physical Computing at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

Mara Duvra is a visual artist and writer. Her research-based practice combines photography, poetry, and moving image to create installations that explore stillness and interiority as critical modes of self study. Duvra is originally from Silver Spring, Maryland, and received a BA in Studio Art and Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park, and an MFA in Studio Art from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Her writing has been featured on MNArtist and InReview and her artwork has been shown in various galleries, including Soo Visual Arts Center, Public Functionary, Juxtaposition Arts, and Common Wealth Gallery. Duvra has held artist residencies at The Soap Factory and The White Page and received a 2019-2020 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant and Jerome Emerging Artist Fellowship. She teaches Painting, Drawing and Printmaking at Saint Paul Academy and Summit School.

Ben Moren is a media artist whose process captures and reframes the environment through imagery, sound, and data to reveal and question anthropocentric viewpoints. His projects create paradoxical scenarios which explore human perception, simulation, time and scale shifts, documentation, preservation, and our enduring relationship with the natural environment. He works with filmmaking, performance, sculpture, and custom software systems. He has created site specific and mixed reality projects for Northern Spark Festival in Minneapolis, Kulturpark in Berlin, and the Weisman Art Museum. He has exhibited at Soap Factory, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, IndieCade Los Angeles, and the Beijing Film Academy. He is an Associate Professor at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design teaching in the Media Arts department and the Web+Multimedia Environments major.

Rotem Tamir’s work focuses on the objects we make and how they help in telling the complex story of relocation and shuffled identity. She is fascinated by the relationships between art, local and distant traditions, and migration. Tamir is an Israeli artist who lives in Minneapolis and teaches as an Assistant Professor of Sculpture in the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota. Her work has been exhibited at venues including Locust Projects, Miami, FL; the Harn Museum, Gainesville, FL; Kav 16 Community Gallery for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv; BCA Center, Burlington, VT; Ha’Kibbutz Gallery, Tel Aviv; and Artists’ House, Tel Aviv, among others. Tamir has been awarded residencies at Sculpture Space, Utica, NY; Seven Below Arts Initiative, Burlington, VT; Art OMI International Arts Center and was a featured artist in residence at ARC Chattanooga, TN. She was the recipient of the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship award and the Artist Exhibition Grant from Artis, New York, NY, among others.

Dyani White Hawk (Sičáŋgu Lakota) is a visual artist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. White Hawk earned a MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She served as Gallery Director and Curator for the All My Relations Gallery in Minneapolis from 2011-2015. Recent support for White Hawk’s work has included the 2021 Arts and Letters Award in Arts, 2019 United States Artists Fellowship in Visual Art, 2019 Eiteljorg Fellowship for Contemporary Art, 2019 Jerome Hill Artists Fellowship, 2020 and 2019 Forecast for Public Art Grants, 2018 Nancy Graves Grant for Visual Artists. She has participated in residencies in New Orleans, Santa Fe, Australia, Russia and Germany. Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Akta Lakota Museum, Denver Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Walker Art Center, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, among many other public and private collections. She is represented by Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis.

Dream the Combine is the collaborative practice of Jennifer Newsom and Tom Carruthers begun in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2013. As artists, architects, and educators, their work conflates what is real with what is imagined to create perceptual uncertainties that cast doubt on our “known” understanding of the world. They have produced numerous site-specific installations in the U.S. and Canada that question the rigidity of spatial and social contexts. Dream the Combine has exhibited at MoMA and MoMA PS1 in New York, NY, and in Seattle WA, East Haddam CT, Vancouver BC, Rome Italy, Minneapolis MN and St. Paul MN. Their work has been published widely, including Metropolis Magazine, Log, Architectural Record, and Dezeen. They are winners of the 2020-2021 J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize, the 2018 Young Architects Program at MoMA PS1, the 2018 Art Omi Architecture Residency, and the 2017 FSP/Jerome Foundation Fellowship. They are currently at work on upcoming installations in Minneapolis MN, Philadelphia and Wilkinsburg PA, and Columbus IN. Jennifer and Tom are both graduates of the Yale School of Architecture.

2021 McKnight Fellows Image Collage

McKnight Visual Artist Discussion Series

This program pairs a visiting critic with three McKnight Visual Artist Fellows and offers attendees an opportunity to learn more about the fellowship recipients as well as how their work intersects with broader contemporary art ideas and concerns.

Jasmine Wahi, David Bowen, Mara Duvra, and Rotem Tamir

Gregory Volk, Ben Moren, and Dyani White Hawk