December 2023

Art for All’s newest exhibition and sale, on display through February 16 in the gallery at the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain , features emerging photographer Hannah Rousar (pictured) in her first show and six other artists displaying their latest work. The exhibition includes paintings, mixed media, ceramics, and photography, and was created as part of Art for All: The Stephanie Evelo Program for Art Inclusion at the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Community Integration.

Rousar’s photographs, along with works by another Art for All artist, Lena Osman, were also recently featured in an exhibition at The Mill Yard at Stonebridge Lofts in Minneapolis.

The shows advance the program’s mission of not only supporting emerging and professional artists with disabilities, but also bringing their work into wider community spaces to enhance understanding of the artists’ vision of the world.

“The experience extends beyond artists selling their work and enhancing their resumes, though these aspects are undoubtedly significant,” said Nik Fernholz, program manager. “The true essence lies in the moments when artists connect, share their narratives, delve into their practices, and, ultimately, inspire one another to create.”

Rousar met Sheryl Evelo on a plane back to St. Paul from New York, discovering several mutual connections in the art and disability communities. Sheryl and David Evelo helped create the Art for All program at ICI in memory of their daughter Stephanie, an artist and ICI staff member with Down syndrome who died in 2012.

“It was serendipitous for us to meet, but also just a wonderful opportunity for Hannah to do something new,” Sheryl Evelo said. “She’s an outgoing, busy young woman who is already involved in dance and has a work and social life, but she never realized that something like this could be available to her.”

Rousar’s colorful photographs feature scenes from her travels around the country, from serene, natural landscapes at Yellowstone to the Disney World castle at night.

“It was amazing to talk to people about my pictures, and some of them bought them, so it was really exciting,” Rousar said.

Works by Katharine Fitzgerald, Sam St. John, Geordy Levin , Linda Hood, Donna Ray , and Paul Carlson are also included in the exhibition at MIDB.

St. John , who describes herself as an indigenous, mixed-media artist from Hastings, Minnesota, explores the intersections of mental health recovery, natural surroundings, and her indigenous roots in her work. A large self-portrait in the exhibition features the face of a bear, reflecting her Apache name.

“I call myself a soul artist because the work is so much a part of me and my storytelling,” she said. “This painting is an evolution of myself over the last 10 years, with the lightness and darkness presenting the duality of living with bipolar and the vulnerability it creates to be open to help other people. Today, this painting depicts a healed version of me.”

All are welcome to view the exhibition through February 16 at 2025 East River Parkway in Minneapolis.