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2020 McKnight Fellowships for Fiber Artists

Inaugural McKnight Fiber Artist Fellows: Liz Miller & Eun-Kyung Suh.

Fellowship Period: January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020

McKnight Fiber Artist Discussion Series: Karen Patterson, in conversation with Liz Miller and Eun-Kyung Suh

FREE! • Monday, March 8, 6 – 7:30 pm CST

Join Karen Patterson and McKnight Fiber Artist Fellows Liz Miller and Eun-Kyung Suh in the second and final conversation of our inaugural year of the McKnight Fellowships for Fiber Artists. Patterson is the first-ever curator at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, appointed in 2019. Prior to this, she served for seven years as senior curator at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, curating and organizing more than 40 exhibitions and installations, bridging a multifaceted program featuring unique collections, an ambitious contemporary art program, and a celebrated residency program. Notable were Makeshift, a 2018 collaboration with artist Michelle Grabner. The Road Less Traveled, another collaborative and multi-tiered collection-based exhibition series, received praise from Hyperallergic as the top exhibition of 2017.

Patterson’s curatorial approach combines a strong desire to elevate the public’s understanding of the creative process with a belief that art can be anchored in a variety of societal discourses. She recently met for studio visits with our fellows and this follow up conversation presents their work in fiber and textiles within the context of contemporary art. Special thanks to the McKnight Foundation for their generous funding of the McKnight Fellowships for Fiber Artists.

Register for the free Zoom conversation here!

Artwork by Eun-Kyung Suh
Installation Detail by Liz Miller

Liz Miller

Liz Miller’s work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad. Past awards include a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, a McKnight Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists, a Jerome Foundation Fellowship, and several Artist Initiative Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Miller has participated in artist residencies at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, LA, and the McColl Center for Art and Innovation in Charlotte, NC. She lives and works in Good Thunder, MN, and is Professor of Installation Art and Drawing at Minnesota State University – Mankato.

Learn more about Liz and her work HERE!

Eun-Kyung Suh

Korean-born, Twin Cities-based textile installation artist Eun-Kyung Suh received a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA, USA. Since 2008 she has focused on a series of sculptural vessels and textile installations as metaphors for personal, family, and cultural memories. Her works are often created out of diaphanous textiles, originally inspired by Bojagi, a traditional Korean art form. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and was published in Textiles: The Art of Mankind (Thames & Hudson), Surface Design Journal (SDA), Metalsmith (SNAG), and others. Currently, Eun-Kyung Suh is a professor in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

Learn more about Eun-Kyung Suh and her work HERE!

Elissa Auther

Elissa Auther is Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York. She has published widely on a diverse set of topics, including her book String, Felt, Thread: The Hierarchy of Art and Craft in American Art, which focuses on the broad utilization of fiber in art of the 1960s and 1970s and the changing hierarchical relationship between art and craft expressed by the medium’s new visibility.Her most recent exhibitions for MAD include Surface/Depth: The Decorative After Miriam Schapiro and Vera Paints a Scarf: The Art and Design of Vera Neumann.  elissaauther.com

Karen Hampton

Karen Hampton is an internationally recognized conceptual artist, addressing issues of colorism and kinship within the African American community. Hampton’s art practice is the synthesis of memory, history, time, and cloth. Hampton serves on the Board of Directors of the Textile Society of America, and is an Assistant Professor at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. kdhampton.com

Mark Newport

Mark Newport, artist and educator, is currently the Artist in Residence and Head of Fiber at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. His work has been shown nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at The Arizona State University Art Museum, The Cranbrook Art Museum, The Chicago Cultural Center, and Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis, MO. It is currently on view at the Third Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art in Hangzhou, China. The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum are a few of the many public collections that include his work.  marknewportartist.com

Glenn Adamson

Glenn Adamson is a curator, writer, and historian who works at the intersection of craft, design, and contemporary art. He has previously been Director of the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC; Head of Research at the V&A in London; and Curator at the Chipstone Foundation in Milwaukee. Adamson’s publications include Thinking Through Craft (2007); The Craft Reader (2010); Postmodernism: Style and Subversion (2011, co-edited with Jane Pavitt); The Invention of Craft (2013); and Art in the Making (2016, co-authored with Julia Bryan-Wilson); and Fewer Better Things: The Hidden Wisdom of Objects (2018). He has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Modern Craft and his new book, Craft: An American History, will be published by Bloomsbury in January 2021.  glennadamson.com

Jessica Hemmings

Jessica Hemmings writes about textiles and is Professor of Craft & Vice-Prefekt of Research at HDK-Valand, University of Gothenburg, Sweden and the 2020-2021 Rita Bolland Fellow at the Research Centre for Material Culture, the Netherlands. Her PhD (University of Edinburgh, 2006) is published under the title Yvonne Vera: the Voice of Cloth (Kalliope, 2008). She was editor of In the Loop: Knitting Now (2010), and The Textile Reader (2012), and author of Warp & Weft: Woven Textiles in Fashion, Art, and Interiors (2012)Cultural Threads (2015), an editorial/curatorial project about postcolonial thinking and contemporary textile practice accompanied a travelling exhibition, Migrations (2015-2017). Hemmings is a member of the editorial board of Textile: Cloth and Culture (Taylor & Francis) and Craft Research (Intellect). jessicahemmings.com

Karen Patterson

Karen Patterson is the first-ever curator at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, appointed in 2019. Prior to this, she served as senior curator at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. During her seven years at JMKAC, she curated and organized more than 40 exhibitions and installations, bridging a multifaceted program featuring unique collections, an ambitious contemporary art program, and a celebrated residency program. Notable exhibitions were Makeshift, a 2018 collaboration with artist Michelle Grabner, and The Road Less Traveled, which received praise from Hyperallergic as the top exhibition of 2017. Her curatorial approach combines a desire to elevate the public’s understanding of the creative process with a belief that art can be anchored in a variety of societal discourses. Karen Patterson- Fabric Workshop

Fiber art is thriving in Minnesota, and the field’s growth as an artistic discipline has been validated by the McKnight Foundation’s expansion of its McKnight Artist Fellowships Program to include two $25,000 fellowships to be awarded each year to individual midcareer fiber artists living and working in Minnesota.

In addition to the $25,000 unrestricted award in support of their studio work and practice, McKnight Fiber Artist Fellows will receive:

  • Critiques/studio visits with three critics from the field.
  • Exhibition at the end of the fellowship period in the Joan Mondale Gallery at Textile Center.
  • Participation in two public discussions that feature fellows and invited critics and curators.
  • Professional development support, such as attending conferences, workshops, and marketing advice for their work.
  • Access to Textile Center’s resources, including library of more than 30,500 books and periodicals, state-of-the-art dye lab, and artisan shop opportunities.

The intent of the McKnight Fellowships for Fiber Artists is to recognize and support talented Minnesota fiber and textile artists whose work is of exceptional artistic merit. These fellowships are in support of individual artists who are at a career stage beyond emerging. Fiber Artists, as defined for the purposes of this fellowship, are artists who use textile and fiber arts materials, processes and/or sensibilities in their artistic practice throughout the conception, execution, and resolution of their work.



The McKnight Foundation, a family foundation based in Minnesota, advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive.

Founded on the belief that Minnesota thrives when its artists thrive, the McKnight Foundation’s arts program is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the country. Support for individual working Minnesota artists has been a cornerstone of the program since it began in 1981. The McKnight Artist Fellowships Program provides annual, unrestricted cash awards to outstanding mid-career Minnesota artists in 14 different creative disciplines. Program partner organizations administer the fellowships and structure them to respond to the unique challenges of different disciplines. Currently the foundation contributes about $1.7 million per year to its statewide fellowships.

A focus on racial equity is at the heart of the McKnight approach to funding. Along with Textile Center, our organizations value diversity and equity, seeking to be inclusive and accessible to all applicants. We welcome and encourage applications from artists representing diverse cultural perspectives.

To learn more about McKnight Artist Fellowships, visit: mcknight.org/artistfellowships

“McKnight Artist Fellowships increase the exploratory opportunity, economic stability, and productive capacity of artists by providing unrestricted cash awards and artistic and professional development opportunities for midcareer artists in Minnesota.”

—Arleta Little, Arts Program Officer and Director of Artist Fellowships