2009-2010 Artist Panel

From Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program

Current Artist Panel

Ta-coumba Aiken (2008-2010) is an artist and teacher who uses his artwork to "heal the hearts and souls of people and communities by evoking a positive spirit." Since arriving in Minnesota from Evanston, Illinois in 1970, Aiken's work has become entwined with the architecture of the Twin Cities. As a muralist, his canvas is often the neighborhoods in which he works. His style is a maze of lines and layers of color, which he refers to as "rhythm patterns," which become messages or empowerment and spirituality. Aiken's work calls to the elements in life: the music, the wind the whistles, the sound of the dancers' breath. Aiken's public works can be seen throughout the Twin Cities and around the country. His MAEP shows include Spirit House (1988) and Call and Response (2008). Ta-coumba Aiken's Web site.


Brian Frink (2009-2011) lives with his wife, Wilbur in an old poor farm that they renovated outside of Mankato. He has been making paintings and drawings pretty much his whole life. Most of the time he is not sure what his art is really about. He is certain though that it has something to do with the wind, rain, snow, light and gravity. Since 1989 he has been teaching painting and drawing at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

He has been the recipient of two McKnight Fellowships, 1992 and 2001. He received a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Arts Fellowship in 1994. In 1992, 95 and 99 he received Minnesota State Arts Board grants. In 1998 he received a Jerome Travel and Study grant that helped fund a six-week trip to Italy and Germany.

He has participated in many solo and group exhibitions, regionally and nationally. He has also been part of a two-person exhibition, at the MAEP, titled "Dancing between the Known and the Magical", with the ceramist Gary Erickson. In 1995-97 he also was a panelist on the MAEP panel. It was such a pleasant experience that he decided to do it again.

Brian maintains an active studio practice diligently overseen by his miniature Dachshund, Oscar, and his other dog Jad. He and Wilbur have two children, Blake and Anna. Recently they became grandparents with the birth of their Grandson Wyatt.

If you would like to check out Brian's work and some images of the Poor Farm Studio, here is the website. Poor Farm Studio Web site.


Billy X. Curmano (2008-2010) is an award winning former McKnight Foundation Interdisciplinary Art Fellow. He was trained as a painter and sculptor (If, of course, painters and sculptors can be trained). His more traditional objects have been exhibited both here and abroad since a first solo show in 1970. Notably, his paintings represented the USA in the “III Vienna Graphikbiennale.” His works are included at the Museum of Modern Art Library and other prestigious collections.

Billy X. is probably best known for eccentric “Live art.” During one extended performance and environmental statement, he swam from the source of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. The mayors of St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, and New Orleans all proclaimed Billy X. Curmano Day in their cities.

He was buried alive for three days in 1983, created a Tiger Cage on Wheels that focused attention on political prisoners and performed for cows with a busload of baffled tourists looking on. He marked the Millennium in Death Valley with a 40-day, juice and water fast and traveled thousands of miles on public transportation to bring a 10-minute greeting from the Mississippi to the Arctic Sea. Amused journalists have dubbed him, “The Court Jester of Southeastern Minnesota” with comparisons to P.T. Barnum, Andy Warhol, and Marcel Duchamp. Billy Curmano's Web site.


David Petersen (2009-2011) was born and raised in south Minneapolis where he is now a working artist. He received his BFA from the University of Minnesota (1999) and his MFA from the City University of New York, Hunter College (2003). His mixed media and multidisciplinary work has recently been exhibited in non-commercial galleries, guerrilla sites and DIY spaces in Minneapolis, New York City and Brooklyn, Greensboro, Kansas City, and Dresden, Germany. Additionally, he is the Artistic Director of Art of This, an artist-run, non-profit gallery and project space on Nicollet Avenue that has presented more than 60 events and exhibitions featuring the work of over 300 artists since its inception in 2005. David Petersen's Web site.


Andy Sturdevant (2009-2011) has written regularly about local art and artists for mnartists.org, The Rake/Secrets of the City and ARP!. He has served on several panels and curatorial committees including the 2010 Art Shanty Projects. Sturdevant also served on the administrative board of the Art Shanty Projects in 2009 and participated directly as an artist and performer since 2005. In 2008, Sturdevant curated the season-long History Room at The Soap Factory in conjunction with their 20th anniversary. In 2009 Sturdevant co-created the Common Room at The Soap Factory, a month-long space for performance and interactivity. Sturdevant is also a practicing artist, exhibiting locally at Art Of This, The Soap Factory, Altered Esthetics and Creative Electric.


Megan Vossler (2009-2011) came to Minnesota in 2000 to pursue her MFA at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and has stayed ever since -- becoming an enthusiastic member of the Twin Cities artistic community, and even acquiring a snowblower as a sign of her commitment to Minnesota. Her large-scale graphite drawings are regularly exhibited nationally and regionally, at venues including the MAEP galleries at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the De Young Museum in San Francisco, the Soap Factory, and Franklin Art Works. Megan has received a McKnight Artists Fellowship for Visual Artists (2007), a Jerome Foundation Fellowshiop for Emerging Artists (2005), and, most recently, a Jerome Travel and Study Grant (2009) to travel and draw land formations. She currently teaches drawing at Macalester College and at MCAD, and also lectures on art history at the Walker Art Center. Megan participated in MAEP's War Mediated. Megan Vossler's Web site.


Lyz Wendland (2008-2010) is an artist from the Twin Cities area and recently graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with her MFA in Visual Studies. While there her work consisted of combining sculptural, installation and drawing elements. While focusing on form and repetition, during her last year her works became more site-specific and concentrate on creating a unique and quite environment for the viewer.

Lyz is also active in the Minneapolis arts community as is also a continuing volunteer for the Soap Factory. During her last year of graduate school she also Co-founded a graduate critique group with the University of Minnesota’s MFA program.

Her work has been shown numerously in local galleries, most recently: Rosalux Gallery, the Concourse gallery at MCAD and Intermedia Arts. Nationally at, The Berkeley Art Center in Berkeley, CA, APW Gallery in NY and an upcoming three-person show at The Main Gallery in Las Vegas. Lyz Wendland's Web site.



Email questions and comments to the panel at maep_panel@artsmia.org


Current Artist Panel
2008-2009 Artist Panel