Then & Now

Then & Now

25+ Years of MCAD MFA Celebrating the MFA Classes of '95 and '96 and Their Mentors

The exhibition Then & Now: 25+ Years of MCAD MFA highlights the establishment of the Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts Program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and celebrates the first graduating classes of 1995 and 1996 along with their mentors. 

The inaugural classes of artists and designers brought with them a wealth of experience and knowledge to the program. Many were already educators and most were actively exhibiting artists. Marty Nash ’96, MFA, for example, was a founding member of WARM (Women’s Art Registry of Minnesota) and had been an art instructor for over a decade before returning to the classroom herself in 1993. But as graduate students these alumni continued to develop their skills and many launched new careers. Amanda Bliss Taylor ’95, MFA, lives and works in LA as an editor for TV and film and Teri Kwant ’95, MFA, founded her own company, DreamLab. Some of the alumni like Tara Sweeney ’96, MFA, (Augsburg University) and Keith Christensen ’95, MFA, (St. Cloud State University) have retired from their full-time college and university teaching positions, but others, like Julie Baugnet ’95, MFA, (St. Cloud State University), Jill Odegaard ’96, MFA, (Cedar Crest College), and Michal Sagar ’96, MFA, (Breck School) are still in the classroom, navigating an unprecedented year as arts educators. 

Regardless of their trajectories, the alumni from the classes of ’95 and ’96 have continued to be active makers and creators whose talents and generosity have had an enduring effect on new generations of artists and designers. 

The intermingling of the MFA alumni and their various mentors in the exhibition is a deliberate decision, so as to underscore the reciprocal relationship of teaching and learning. Mentors, who are chosen by the MFA students, are comprised of MCAD faculty as well as other professional artists and designers based in the Twin Cities. Accomplished artists in their own right, these mentors have remarked upon the immense satisfaction and personal enrichment that mentoring has brought them. 

Participating MFA Alumni:

  • Julie Baugnet '95
  • Keith Christensen '95
  • Alice Fjelstul '96
  • Merle Janis '96
  • Mark Knierim '95
  • Teri Kwant '95
  • Wendy Lane '95
  • Maria Mazzara '95
  • Lucy Mink '95
  • Marty Nash '96
  • Jill Odegaard '96
  • Michal Sagar '96
  • Molly Stouten '96
  • Tara Sweeney '96
  • Amanda Bliss Taylor '95

Participating Mentors:

  • Kinji Akagawa
  • Jerry Allan
  • Rebecca Alm
  • Hazel Belvo
  • James Burpee
  • Tom DeBiaso
  • Amanda Degener
  • Elizabeth Erickson
  • David Goldes
  • Shana Kaplow
  • Joyce Lyon
  • David Rich
  • Peter Seitz
  • Jody Williams

This event is organized by the Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies Program at MCAD. The program is a community of makers, thinkers, researchers, and creative professionals working in a mentor-based, interdisciplinary environment. Learn more at

Opening Reception: Friday, June 11, 6:00–9:00 p.m., remarks at 7:00 p.m., outdoors with timed entry into galleries every 30 minutes
Closing Reception: Sunday, July 11, 3:00–5:00 p.m., outdoors with timed entry into galleries every 30 minutes

Open to the public only by appointment. 
Appointment hours: Monday–Friday, 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 1:00–5:00 p.m. 


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