Art for All "entrance" exhibit.

The first art exhibition in the new Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain, titled entrance, embraces the work of four emerging artists with disabilities from the Twin Cities area.  

The title both celebrates the artists’ emerging careers and welcomes visitors to the Blythe Brenden-Mann Community Center, located in the annex building at the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain. MIDB is the new home of the Institute on Community Integration at 2025 E. River Parkway, Minneapolis. 

entrance is a nod to the first encounter we have with artists who are not in the mainstream art world,” said Nik Fernholz, program director for Art for All: The Stephanie Evelo Program for Art Inclusion at ICI. “We’re excited to feature the work of these artists as MIDB opens its doors.” 

The featured artists are Lena Osman, Derek Ouradnik, Tina Parry, and Nate Woodard. Each artist was also featured in a color, hardcover sketchbook produced last year to promote MIDB and the gallery in the new Brenden-Mann space. 

“These artists have been ambassadors for a year-long campaign to develop community knowledge and support for MIDB, particularly for this new gallery space that will celebrate artists with disabilities and provide moments of beauty and reflection for our visitors,” Fernholz said. 

Osman’s work is recognizable by her vibrant color choices and heavy textures, reflecting her Middle Eastern roots. Born in Cairo, Egypt, she moved to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates at age 6 and to Minnesota as a teen. Despite reduced motor control due to cerebral palsy, she practices every day with acrylics and mixed media, producing a unique aesthetic, vision, and perspective. 

Ouradnik, a nature photographer who lives with autism and seizures, enjoys capturing the beauty of nature and freezing it in time through photography. His eye for nature’s color moves seamlessly from a single flower to an expansive landscape, and he loves sharing his work with others. 

Parry uses art to help manage her disabilities, which include traumatic brain injury. Her drawings, paintings, mosaics, and sculptures began as therapeutic but she has taken her work to a new level during the last year. She hopes to inspire others going through difficult times. 

Woodard is a multimedia artist whose work reflects his experiences as a person of color moving through the world. His pieces often reflect themes of spirituality, independence, and the struggles of everyday life.

“I try to … imagine a better world for myself,” Woodard says in the Art for All book. “I picture myself somewhere else, a whole different person in my head.” 

entrance is on display until early 2022. To schedule a gallery tour, contact Fernholz at fern0104@umn.edu.