2021 McKnight Book Artist Fellows to Appear in Public Panel

Paper-based artists will discuss their work with Smithsonian curator

Minnesota Center for Book Arts is pleased to present our 2021 McKnight Book Artist Fellows, Mary Hark and Sonja Peterson, in conversation with Mary Savig, Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery. The panel talk is free and open to the public and will take place in the Target Performance Hall on the second floor of Open Book on Saturday, June 4, 2–4pm, with a reception to follow.

Offered in partnership with the McKnight Foundation, these competitive fellowships support two mid-career artists annually with $25,000 in non-restricted funds, studio access at MCBA, and professional development opportunities to deepen their art practice, including studio visits from national figures in book arts.

Mary Hark
Mary Hark

Mary Hark produces limited editions of flax and linen handmade papers in collaboration with book designers and artists. Motivated by sustainability, she spearheaded a hand paper mill in Ghana capable of producing high-quality papers using local botanicals and textile waste. Her work can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Smithsonian Museum of African Art, and others.

Sonja Peterson
Sonja Peterson

Sonja Peterson creates large, hand-cut stories out of paper and other materials. She often suspends works in space to create an environment through which the viewer can walk. Sonja received her BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and her MFA from the University of Minnesota. She has exhibited work at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Weisman Museum, the Walker Art Center, and elsewhere. Her solo show, What the Trade Winds Brought, is on view at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona, MN until September 11, 2022.

Following brief visual presentations, each fellow will speak separately with Mary Savig about their specific projects and how their creative practices have evolved. At the end of the conversation, there will be time for audience questions. After the panel discussion, audience members are welcome to stay for a reception in the Literary Commons outside the Target Performance Hall until 5pm.

Masks are required for this in-person event and we request that you RSVP via Eventbrite.


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 1982. The McKnight Artist Fellowships Program provides annual, unrestricted cash awards to outstanding mid-career Minnesota artists in 15 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 $2.8 million per year to its statewide fellowships. For more information, visit mcknight.org/artistfellowships.

The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive. Established in 1953, the McKnight Foundation is deeply committed to advancing climate solutions in the Midwest; building an equitable and inclusive Minnesota; and supporting the arts in Minnesota, neuroscience, and international crop research.