Joy Blewett, Afterlife, 2020, 36×48, Acrylic on Canvas
Joy Blewett: Vast
Born and raised in south Minneapolis, Joy Blewett’s love for the arts was nurtured by her father and frequent trips to local art museums. From the moment she could hold a crayon, she was drawing and painting, dreaming of an artist’s life. After graduating from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, she worked as an Art Director and Graphic Designer for clients that included Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, Macy’s, Como Park Zoo, and The Children’s Theatre Company. After illustrating for The Phoenix Spirit and facilitating art events for the non-profit organization Big Brothers, Big Sisters, she returned to her love for the visual arts with a new focus on teaching. At the University of Minnesota she completed a Master’s degree in Visual Arts Education and became a licensed art teacher in 2013. She now resides in Rochester and teaches art at Bonner Elementary School in Stewartville.
When I moved to Rochester four years ago, I developed a new appreciation for the sky. During my daily commutes to Stewartville and weekend road trips home to Minneapolis, I took mental snapshots of the landscapes around me. Traveling across the rolling hills, I watched the sky constantly change, move, speak, and share anger with storms or big hugs from clouds. In the city, so much blocks the view of the sky—from dense neighborhoods and tall buildings to large oaks and evergreens—we see snippets here and there. It wasn’t until moving to Rochester that I started to see the sky with clear eyes and new perspective. The sky is expansive, vast. An endless sea of blues. It stretches out far beyond what we can see or even explore. It is heaven above us.
This exhibition also features 35 student artworks. During the Spring of 2020, students explored the rural sky and painting process in art class and began making sketches of their ideas. The lesson quickly shifted into a distance learning project due to the pandemic. With less art teacher guidance, the students had freedom to create and paint with abandon, no restrictions. These artworks demonstrate perseverance, creative vision, and self expression through a difficult time.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeast Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
ABOUT ROOTED: SOUTHEASTERN MINNESOTA EXHIBITION PROGRAM
The ROOTED program at Rochester Art Center is open to artists living and working in the eleven counties surrounding Rochester and showcases the most innovative and talented artists from the region. For artists who have received artist grants from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC), the art center provides gallery space to showcase the art by the grantee. Art center curatorial staff provide grant application support, studio visits and exhibition space, but do not select the artists, who are chosen by the SEMAC jury. ROOTED exemplifies the commitment of Rochester Art Center to be a central hub for art made in Southeastern Minnesota.