MAEP Background

From Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program

The Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program (MAEP) is an artist-managed curatorial department of The Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) devoted to the exhibition of works by artists who live in Minnesota. For more than 30 years the MAEP has provided this region with a unique model for the production and presentation of work by contemporary and emerging artists within the context of a major museum.

In 1975, regional artists conceived the MAEP in response to their desire for professional exhibition space, recognition, and critical dialogue. The MAEP's objectives were, and still are, to exhibit Minnesota artists' work on a regular basis; to foster the exchange of ideas among artists, museums, and the public; and to facilitate the creation and presentation of work in a context that is uninhibited by aesthetic fashion and/or commercial demand. Designed with the perceptions and evaluation of artists in mind, the MAEP is directed in part by a seven-member Artist Panel elected for two-year terms by Minnesota's artist community. The Panel and the MIA are linked by a jointly selected Program Coordinator who is employed by the Institute at a rank equal to that of a curator. The Program Coordinator implements policy and is responsible for exhibition planning, installation, and the administrative and fiscal management of the MAEP. The Coordinator and MAEP staff together develop exhibition-related projects and programs and oversee the production of exhibition-related publications.

The MAEP has always supported exceptional aesthetic investigation and encouraged the development of a diverse artist community. It has often presented the earliest exhibitions of work by artists who have gone on to critical and commercial success. Since its inception, the MAEP has presented roughly 150 exhibitions of contemporary art. Projects that generate interaction among artists, the MIA, and the public often result in collaborations with other arts organizations (for example, the Asian American Renaissance and the Minnesota Music Academy). MAEP exhibitions have also explored a wide range of topics, artistic styles, and political viewpoints and have featured solo and group shows, career retrospectives, themed shows, and large invitational projects of immense vitality and variety.

Artists who exhibit through the MAEP benefit from the MIA’s large, diverse audience (annual attendance is over one-half million) and access to the Institute’s professional support services. Exhibiting artists participate at every level of exhibition planning and implementation. In all cases, artists are involved with budget allocation and disbursement of honoraria for the exhibition of their work and exhibition-related programming. Artists have been paid honoraria for their involvement with Institute programs and publications since 1975; exhibition honoraria have been paid since 1979. The MAEP has collaborated with exhibiting artists on a variety of publications since 1977.

The staging of exceptional exhibitions continues to be the first priority of the MAEP. All artists who live and work in Minnesota are welcome to participate in the MAEP by attending the MAEP Annual Meeting, by taking part in the election of Artist Panel members, by submitting exhibition proposals for Panel review, and by submitting images and related materials to the MAEP's reference and resource library, which has professional profiles on more than 700 Minnesota artists.