Art Speaks at the Minnesota History Center

For immediate release

Release dated: 
January 6, 2022
Media contacts: 

Suzanne Herrick, 612-247-3079,
Julianna Olsen, 651-259-3140,

Art Speaks at the Minnesota History Center

New Exhibit Featuring Recent Art Additions to the Most Comprehensive Collection of Minnesota Art in the World Opens Feb. 26, 2022

Art speaks in many ways. It carries the message of the artist. It stirs viewers’ imaginations. It tells stories about its subject and encourages its viewer to have a closer look. The Minnesota Historical Society invites Minnesotans to explore the intersection of art, history and Minnesota in the new Art Speaks exhibit opening at the History Center in St. Paul on Feb. 26. 

The Minnesota Historical Society collection includes more than 7,000 works of fine art, and counting. It is the most comprehensive collection of Minnesota art in the world. Art Speaks presents more than 160 paintings, sculptures, photos and more collected over the past 15 years. Along the way, the art evokes questions: What do these works say about their makers, about us and about Minnesota?

Faces, places and contemporary voices 
The exhibit features four interrelated themes. The first two, “faces” and “places,” play to the collections’ historic strengths rooted in portraiture and landscapes. The second two, abstraction and contemporary voices, feature works that speak to the strengths of visual arts in Minnesota.

Since its first accession in the 1870s, the collection has grown to include sculpture, photography, contemporary abstractions and more. The works encourage Minnesotans to explore history in an engaging way, examining art that conveys stories important to all Minnesotans.

Some of the featured artists include:

  • Charles Beck and one of his masterful woodcuts; 
  • Cameron Booth, a mid-century artist with a scene from the Iron Range and a colorful abstraction;
  • Patrick DesJarlait, whose work drew on childhood memories of Ojibwe traditions;
  • Mike Kareken, a professor at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design;
  • Clara Mairs and her double-portraits that have become known as the “Lovers Series;” 
  • Teo Nguyen, who fell in love with the state’s open spaces after moving from Vietnam in 2005; 
  • Carolyn Olson, who in 2020, began a series of pastels honoring essential workers; 
  • Patricia Olson, who paints self-portraits at 10-year intervals; and,
  • Bobby Rogers, a Minneapolis-based photographer who explores Black identity and culture through highly stylized portraits.

Location and Hours
The Minnesota History Center is located at 345 Kellogg Blvd. W. in St. Paul. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. Auxiliary aids and services are available with advance notice. For more information, visit, call 651-259-3000 or 1-800-657-3773.

Admission to Art Speaks is included with regular History Center admission of $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and college students, $6 ages 5 to 17; free age 4 and under and MNHS members. For ticket information visit

Health and Safety
Protocols designed to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 can be viewed on the health and safety procedures page of each site’s website, which can be found on our visit page. MNHS requires a mask while indoors at all MNHS sites. For more information, visit our website at

About the Minnesota Historical Society
The Minnesota Historical Society is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history. Visit us at

Clara Mairs (1878-1963), Double Portrait, Clara and Clem, 1930. Oil on canvas. Gift of Kathleen M. Daniels.

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Patricia Olson (b. 1951), Self Portrait at 60 (after Beckmann), 2011. Oil on panel. Partial gift of the artist.

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Teo Nguyen (b. 1977), Imprint 35, 2015. Acrylic on vellum,

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Charles Beck (1923-2017), Fish Houses, 2006. Woodblock print.

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Michael Kareken (b. 1963), Magnet, 2009. Oil on canvas.

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Carolyn S. Olson (b. 1958), Grocery Store Cashier and Bagger (Essential Worker Series #1), 2020. Pastel on paper.

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Elof Wedin (1901-83), Self Portrait, 1950. Oil on canvas. Gift of Gary Wedin.

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Cameron Booth (1892-1980), Untitled, 1960. Oil on canvas.

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Bobby Rogers (b. 1992), Catch a Fade: Seth Aryee, 2017. Gelatin silver print.

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Patrick DesJarlait (1921-72, Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians), Chippewa Dancer, 1964. Gouache on board.

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