The Weisman’s Target Studio for Creative Collaboration to Receive $140,000 from National Funders for On Site, Supporting the Development and Exhibition of Incarcerated Artists’ Work
One of the artists of SEEN, a 2021 collaboration between We Are All Criminals and WAM's Target Studio, performs his work.
Photo: LaVon, one of the artists collaborating as part of the SEEN project in 2021. Courtesy of We Are All Criminals

The Weisman is thrilled to announce two major grant awards from national funders which will support On Site, a project to develop and exhibit new artwork jointly created by a cohort of incarcerated artists and Twin Cities artists .  On Site is a collaboration of WAM, We Are All Criminals (WAAC), and the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop (MPWW). This project is a continuation of work which began with the SEEN project in spring 2021, initiated by artist Emily Baxter and WAAC in partnership with WAM’s Target Studio for Creative Collaboration. On Site stems from WAM’s longstanding commitment to the subject of art and incarceration, which began with a project by Daniel McCarthy Clifford in 2018.  

In May 2021, this project was approved for a $40,000 Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts. In late June, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts also announced a grant of $100,000 to the Weisman in support of On Site. 

Through video, poetry, installation and performance, On Site will foster the development and presentation of original artworks by seven incarcerated artists, created over the period of two years in collaboration with seven Twin Cities-based artists. Representing a range of cultural backgrounds (African American, Cambodian, Native American, Hmong) and diverse forms of artistic expression (visual, literary, and performance arts), artists on the “inside” will partner with artists on the “outside” on the basis of creative and personal affinities. Their partnerships will unfold by means afforded by the prison system, including supervised in-person meetings and phone and online communication. 

The production of works will take place inside and outside of the prison, in the studios of the city-based collaborators and within the Target Studio for Creative Collaboration at WAM. The two-year residency will culminate in a museum exhibition and related publication. Visitors will be able to engage the work via a concluding exhibition, as well as workshops, artist talks, discussions and open studios. There will be accompanying educational programs for the general public and for University of Minnesota students and faculty developed in collaboration with artists.

 “We are pleased to support On Site/SEEN’s efforts to facilitate creative communication and collaboration between incarcerated artists and those in the outside world” says Rachel Bers, Program Director of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, “the project admirably expands the role the museum can play as a platform that brings together artists and the communities in which they work.” 

Links, information, and additional resources

May 19, 2021, “New Grant Spotlight: On Site,” National Endowment for the Arts blog (featuring an interview with the artists)

Spring 2021 Organizational Residency at the Weisman: SEEN/We Are All Criminals

We Are All Criminals:

Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop: 

May 12, 2021, “National Endowment for the Arts Announces Second Round of Grants for FY 21”

June 29, 2021, “The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Announces Spring 2021 Grants”