Minnesota Museum of American Art to Receive $33,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

This newly announced NEA grant will support a solo exhibition by NY-based artist Brad Kahlhamer in 2019.

National Endowment for the Arts has just approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. Among them is an Art Works grant of $33,000 for Minnesota Museum of American Art (the M) to support an exhibition and related programming for Brad Kahlhamer: A Nation of One. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

“The variety and quality of these projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as the Minnesota Museum of American Art in St. Paul, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.”

“NEA’s generous support for projects like A Nation of One (and, last year, for Ken Gonzales-Day: Shadowlands) is instrumental in providing the M with the means to ensure its exhibitions and programs have lasting impact and greater benefit for our visitors in the Twin Cities and around the state,” says Executive Director Kristin Makholm.

Brad Kahlhamer: Nation of One will feature sculptures, drawings, and paintings that incorporate materials and symbolism from both Native American and vernacular cultures. Kahlhamer’s career is often read through his punk rock, comics, and Abstract Expressionist influences, but Minnesota’s colonial history and prominent Native American communities also provide a rich context for his work. This will be the first solo survey of Kahlhamer’s work in the Upper Midwest.

“We’re excited to share this nationally significant exhibition,” says the M’s Curator of Exhibitions and Public Programs, Christopher Atkins. “Brad’s work will resonate with local audiences interested in the nuances of cultural identity, colonialism and museum collections, and regional Native American perspectives. This NEA support will increase our capacity for robust community dialogue and programs.” Kahlhamer describes both himself and his work as “tribally ambiguous.” He says, “I don’t need to be easily categorized or identified. My work is a mix of influences and styles, and I think that’s a strength.”

Brad Kahlhamer: A Nation of One is part of the museum’s 2018-19 season of exhibitions, which also includes 100 Years and Counting: Select Works from the Minnesota Museum of American Art; The Good Making of Good Things: Craft Horizons Magazine 1941-1979, co-presented with the American Craft Council; and an ambitious exhibition of Arab American artwork, co-presented with Mizna. The M is opening a brand new museum in Lowertown St. Paul’s Pioneer Endicott complex in late 2018, with freshly renovated galleries, community gathering spaces, a sculpture court, and a “sky bridge” extending the skyway directly into the museum. A centerpiece of this new facility will be the Sifo Center for Creativity, which will feature adult and youth-oriented studio art classes, community events and educational programs, artist takeover residencies, and creative family activities.

For more information on this and other projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.

Brad Kahlhamer. Photo by Maggie Shannon.