Kate McDonald

This is not your mama’s Easter egg hunt. Ashley Mary‘s 60-foot mural is part of a new discovery-based event and mall-wide art exhibit that runs from April 12 through April 20 at Rosedale Center.

Mall-goers will be invited to find work of more than 30 Minnesota artists spread out over the mall’s 1 million-plus square feet space. In addition to painter Ashley Mary’s mural, the exhibit will also feature a variety of MN Original alums, including a 12-foot interactive light pyramid by Philip Noyed, along with work by Caitlin Karolczak, Leslie BarlowMichael Cina, Michael Thomsen, Aaron Dysart and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre/ MayDay Artists, among others.

During the hunt, audiences are also encouraged to “Instagram and Win” by taking pictures of the art and posting them on social media using the hashtag #RosedaleArtHunt for a chance to win prizes.

The exhibit is a partnership of Rosedale Center and Minneapolis-based exhibit design and curatorial firm, Bishop/Iverson.

Exhibit co-creator Kate Iverson chatted with us about how this project came to be.

Introduce yourself and tell us a little more about this project.

Kate Iverson (KI): I’m an artist and creative producer who has been involved in the Twin Cities art community for more than 12 years. My business partner, Mike Bishop, and I run Bishop/Iverson, a curatorial firm that helps develop art experiences for a variety of clients. We’re incredibly excited to partner with Rosedale Center to create a first-of-its-kind art experience within the mall. Attendees will be invited to explore all corners of Rosedale’s expansive common space to discover works of art both large and small.

How did this project come to be?

KI: Rosedale’s new marketing director, Sarah Fossen, came up with the idea and came to us to help bring it to life. Between our large event production, curatorial and exhibit design experience, it was the perfect fit. I previously worked with Sarah on a large-scale fashion event, as well as an arts and culture initiative for the City of Saint Paul years ago, so we have a great collaborative working history.

What is the goal of this exhibit?

KI: Spring is the perfect time to bring color and creativity out to shine. On a general level, the project will be a vibrant, fun experience that reflects the excitement of the season. On a deeper level, Mike and I have always framed our work around accessibility and inclusivity, so being able to bring art to the masses in such an unexpected public space is kind of a dream project for us.

Art exhibitions in a mall are a bit unusual. Why is it important to showcase artwork in unusual spaces?

KI: Mike and I have helped develop multiple art galleries and creative initiatives in the Twin Cities based on the idea that art should not be gate-kept. We tend to shake up art experiences, share them with broader audiences in meaningful ways and create opportunities for real community engagement. The Rosedale project will put art in front of many people who may not normally interact with it – and that’s a beautiful thing. Even the smallest experiences can inspire people to do something creative themselves, take the leap to exploring galleries, or maybe collect or appreciate art on a larger scale in the future. Art can be transformative in so many ways. The concept of a “mall” is not just about commerce, it’s also a place of community gathering. It’s all-American in the best way – a huge cross-section of cultures, ages, socio-economic backgrounds and so much more. 

What are some of the challenges or advantages of creating this kind of interactive exhibit?

KI: It’s definitely the biggest space we’ve ever curated, that’s for sure. Rosedale is more than 1.2 million square feet, which is both a challenge and an advantage in itself. Even with more than 50 works of art, we need to be strategic about placement and curation to ensure there are balanced points of interest throughout the common areas, as well as more discovery-based pieces that may be a bit less obvious. We’re also incredibly grateful to Sarah and Lea from Rosedale’s marketing team – they’ve been fully engaged, helpful and supportive every step of the way. Those ladies know how get things done!

Guests are invited to post photos on social media to win prizes. What do you think the benefit of social media has been to art and exhibitions? 

KI: Similar to my thoughts on art accessibility for the public, I believe social media provides a similar service. There’s a massive art community on Instagram; it’s a hotbed for inspiration and a major platform for the emerging artist. It’s also a great place for collectors to discover new artists. I recently bought an original painting from a Japanese artist I found on Instagram, in fact. Being able to share and experience art on social media is a wonderful thing, but of course getting to see art in person is even better. My hope is that if someone is looking at art online, it inspires them to get out, interact and create beyond their screens. For this event, we’ll be using the hashtag #RosedaleArtHunt on Instagram throughout the week. Mall-goers are invited to post photos or videos of the art or themselves with it, along with the hashtag, to be entered to win cool prize packages from Rosedale.

Any particular pieces, artists, or exhibit highlights that you want to make sure to mention?

KI: I’m excited about everything in the show, to be honest. I don’t want to give too much away, but in addition to the Ashley Mary mural, we’re also showcasing some work from a group of brilliant young Somali artists and writers from 1991 Magazine, which will take up a number of window banks in the old Herberger’s space. I’m also obsessed with Marlena Myles, a digital artist who creates gorgeously detailed, powerful animations based on Dakota narratives. There are also plenty of fun, colorful doo-dads, mini-works, and interactive pieces that will appeal to kids and adults alike. I absolutely love art with a bit of humor and lots of color – art that just makes you feel good. We’ll have plenty of that, along with pieces that invite you to dig a bit deeper. Hopefully it all inspires!

What’s next for Bishop/Iverson?

KI: Well, in addition to taking a well-deserved, post-Rosedale breather, we’ve got some other curatorial projects for private clients currently in progress. Our services range from custom art creation to exhibit design to curatorial consultation, artist/brand collaborations, and more, so it’s always something a little different. I’m definitely looking forward to having some time this summer to work on my own art practice as well.

Finished mural by Ashley Mary

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This story is made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the citizens of Minnesota.