Closeup of red fabric with a circular pattern

Work from the 2021 Women's Art Institute Summer Studio Intensive

East & West Gallery
July 17, 2021
July 31, 2021
Various artist from the 2021 Women's Art Institute

Exhibition hours (July 17-31 only): Monday-Saturday, 1-6 p.m. Closed Sundays. Free and open to the public. The gallery is not hosting any receptions or in-person programming at this time. Please review our campus COVID policies prior to visiting. Health screenings are not required for gallery visitors.

This exhibition showcases the work recent participants have made at the 2021 Women's Art Institute—a summer art course at St. Catherine University for contemporary women and non-binary artists of all ages and backgrounds. As a community that shares, reflects and creates, this culmination of four weeks of intensive studio work and study reveals the concerns of women and non-binary artists today.

Artist Participants: Kylee Danks, Christy Dickinson, Shannon Dallenbach Durbin, Blue Edwards, Mary Gallagher, Susan Gangsei, Georgia A. Greeley, Alyssa Hahn, Heather E. Kemper, Lin Lacy, Ellie Leonard, Megan O. McNinch, Courtney Miller Bellairs, Sydney Ockenga, Rebecca Oehler, Bunny Portia, Amy Usdin

Faculty: Patricia Olson & Paige Tighe

Teaching Assistants: Ellie Kingsbury & Gwen Partin

About the Women's Art Institute
The Women’s Art Institute at St. Catherine University annually offers the fully accredited Summer Studio Intensive, a rigorous four-week program for advanced women and non-binary artists and art students focusing on issues that arise through the combination of open studio work, inspiring conversation, and critique with guest artists, curators, and art historians. The Institute began at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1999 and moved to St. Catherine University in fall 2012.

Participants gain insights into the work of contemporary women artists; achieve philosophical, aesthetic, and historical knowledge that will help them define their goals as artists; are given opportunities for intensive studio work and individual tutoring, and develop a body of work based on the exploration of selected questions brought by the participants and discussed during the Summer Studio Intensive.

The Women’s Art Institute is sponsored by the Department of Art and Art History at St. Catherine University and co-sponsored by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

For more information about the Women’s Art Institute, visit

Exhibition image: Kathy Michaelson, Targeted (detail), 2017, fabric, mirror, beads. Image courtesy of the Women's Art Institute.

Women leaning on desk examining print artworks


Women painting in art studio


What is my responsibility/opportunity to confront/engage/interrogate the art historical canon? What are the characteristics of the community I would want to make art in and how would I engage and contribute to it? These were two of the questions established for consideration by the participants in the 2021 Women’s Art Institute Summer Studio Intensive in their just-completed four-week course. Each of the 17 women and non-binary artists created a new portfolio of work from which this exhibition is curated by co-instructors Paige Tighe and myself. Pandemic protocols changed things this year: we met daily and engaged with artists, art historians, and art curator presentations via Zoom. Students were able to work in the Visual Art Building’s studio classrooms. Ranging in age from 21 to 73, the participants explored a wide range of new directions, often surprising themselves and asking: How do I start thinking creatively? How can I trust the process when in the middle of it? How do I know when a piece is finished?

- Patricia Olson, Director of the Women's Art Institute


Patricia Olson, Director and Instructor

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. Olson is an artist member of Form+Content Gallery in Minneapolis.

Paige Tighe, Instructor

Paige Tighe is an artist, educator, and curator. They have a BA in studio art and art history from the University of Minnesota-Morris and an MFA in public practice art from Otis College of Art and Design. Their first year of graduate school was spent intensely working as an assistant production manager for Suzanne Lacy's Ford Foundation-funded project, Reunion:Reunión in Laton, California. Their performance piece Walk with ME has been shown nationally and internationally. In a world where human connection is shifting and changing, their artwork explores what we hold onto and what we let go of.