MAPC 2018

Go West: A Collaborative Turn

As artists working with printmaking media we are accustomed to collaboration, cooperation and community within our studios and in our processes. Do we continue to embody the pioneers, pathfinders and trailblazers and in those roles, how do we take responsibility for and acknowledge the voices of those who were exterminated or displaced? Are we continuing to create new identities and challenge our political and social realities, or do we seek to find homesteads or create utopian communities where we are removed from others? Where is a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive West in this process? How do we seek and establish cooperation and collaboration and can we be “rugged individuals” and also “good citizens”? How do we respond to cultural expectations as artists? How do we include the perspectives and experiences of diverse communities? What do we desire for the art we make and for the communities of artists that we create? Do we continue to “Go West”?

Thursday Keynote Address:  2018 MAPC Outstanding Printmakers 


Carla McGrath, Executive Director

Executive Director and Co-founder Carla McGrath manages the day-to-day operations of Highpoint including financial management, personnel and marketing activities. McGrath is responsible for grant writing and fundraising; she oversees adult and youth educational and community programming with HP staff.  Ms. McGrath is also responsible for collaborating with HP's board of directors to improve organizational capacity. She served as the lead director in charge of HP2, a $3.5M capital campaign to fund the purchase and design of HP's permanent home. She has served as a board member of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts for 15 years and frequently volunteers as a panelist for Minnesota granting organizations.

Carla McGrath previously worked as Art Lab Coordinator in the Dept. of Education and Community Programs at the Walker Art Center from 1995–2000. While at the Walker she was responsible for designing and teaching hands-on art projects for a wide range of visitors, with emphasis on K-12 education. Ms. McGrath holds a BA in English from Connecticut College and earned her JD from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota. 


Cole Rogers, Artistic Director & Master Printer

Cole Rogers is a co-founder of Highpoint and HP’s Artistic Director and Master Printer. From 1995–2000 he was Printshop Director and Printmaking Coordinator at Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where he taught, shaped curriculum and advocated for the art of printmaking. Previously he was chief printer at AKASHA in Minneapolis, and a Senior Printer at Tamarind Institute in New Mexico. He earned his BFA in Printmaking from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, an MFA in Printmaking from Ohio State University, and a Master Printer certificate from Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

Highpoint Editions’ print publications created under the direction of Rogers over the last seventeen years have been exhibited and featured in shows across the US and abroad as well as acquired for the permanent collections of many major museums including: Ackland Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cincinnati Museum of Art, The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University, Des Moines Art Museum, Hammer Museum, Harvard Museums of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Minnesota Museum of American Art, Milwaukee Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Montgomery Museum of Art, Museum of Art, University of New Hampshire, Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Missouri, Museum of Modern Art, NYC, New York Public Library, North Dakota Museum of Art, Pérez Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Plains Art Museum, University of Richmond Museums, Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, Spencer Museum, University of Kansas, The Studio Museum Harlem, Tweed Museum of Art, Walker Art Center, Weisman Art Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery, Yale University Gallery.


Friday Keynote Address: Samuel Western


Samuel Western

Samuel Western has explored northern Rockies environmental, economic, and ethical issues for 35 years. For most of that time, he was a correspondent for the Economist of London. He's published works of economic history, fiction, and poetry. He recently taught a class at the University of Wyoming titled: New Wyoming Narratives: What Do We Want?


Here's quote I have tacked up on my wall:

“The things that make good headlines attract our attention because they are on the surface of the stream of life, and they distract our attention from the slower, impalpable, imponderable movements that work below the surface and penetrate to the depths. But of course it is really these deeper, slower movements that, in the end, make history, and it is they that stand out huge in retrospect, when the sensational passing events have dwindled, in perspective, to their true proportions.”

Arnold Toynbee, a dead white guy, a British historian no longer in vogue, penned that.  I try to explore Toynbee's deeper, slower movements. The problem, of course, is figuring out: say, is that flotsam floating on the surface or the tip of an iceberg? The public has little patience with ponderous projections. The day of the public intellectual, a la Gunter Grass or Arthur Schlesinger, has passed or at least severely diminished. 

My current project?

In 1889, a group of men convened in five separate western territories: North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. At one time, each had been part of the Dakota Territory but had been parceled out into individual territories. Now each desired statehood and elected delegates to write a constitution.

Although they cut and pasted from other state constitutions, these conventioneers wanted something different for their own founding document: progress over tradition; inclusion as opposed to exclusion. They were anti-authoritarian; they whittled away at the contract between servant and master. They wrote, in fact, remarkably progressive constitutions. The word egalitarianism springs to mind. They promoted suffrage for women, prohibited child labor, gave property rights to women, banned private armies from harassing strikers, gave us an eight-hour day and free schooling. They made sure no debtor went to prison. Wyoming conventioneers declared laws affecting the political rights and privileges of its citizens “shall be without distinction of race, color, sex, or any circumstance or condition whatsoever other than individual incompetency or unworthiness.”

They made water in free-flowing streams the property of the state. Talk about a metaphorical declaration of inclusivity: private interests could not control and manipulate one of the earth’s greatest necessities.

So. What happened? How did these states of the northern Rockies and Dakotas subvert their original pro-government populist narrative, one whose constitutions focused on helping the working man and small communities, to become laboratories for stark and austere libertarianism, vehemently anti-government, redoubts attracting cranky individualists, some violent, some awfully rich?

I'm trying to find out.