We are committed to providing dynamic, unique and engaging experiences to our visitors. As part of this, we bring in teaching artists throughout the year that work across many mediums and art forms. Art nurtures creativity, communication, confidence and so much more.

Past Artists

Rangoli Sand Drawing with Shakun Maheshwari

Shakun is a visual artist who works in many genres. She began her artistic life in her native India, learning traditional folk arts from her mother and aunties. With formal art training in graphic design, photography and various other mediums, she has enhanced her background and teaching methods. Shakun uses her folk art background to make connections with other cultures and is dedicated to teaching all students the creative process.

Visitors will have the opportunity to explore the India folk art of Rangoli. In traditional Rangoli, powdered colors are sprinkled on a cleaned and dusted floor or hard board with fingers to form decorations.  Working with artist Shakun Maheshwari visitors will use pencil, paper, rice powder, and color sand to create their own Rangoli.

Christopher Lutter-Gardella, From Waste to Wonder

Christopher Lutter-Gardella is a large scale sculptor and theater artist who believes that there is a deep-residing need for hands-on, kinesthetic creative work. He combines materials exploration, hand-crafting, design, and an intersection of movement, language and imaginative theatrical invention. He works predominately with waste materials and places a strong emphasis on the ecology of the waste-to-art process, exploring science and environmental intersections of the various materials used.

This eco-conscious teaching artist series will use everyday waste materials, changing throughout the series, such as cardboard, clothing hangers, grocery sacks and repurposed clothing.  Learn from his process and work alongside Chris to construct unique creations.


Celebrate love with dynamic duo Beatrix*Jar! Create a joyful conversation and a write a one of a kind love song with playful musical instruments at the Audio Playground! Draw what you love on a magnet and place it on the Interactive Love Mural.

Beatrix*Jar is dynamic duo Bianca Janine Pettis (Beatrix) and Jacob Aaron Roske (JAR). The duo is known for their prolific visual and fabric art practice as well as their years as touring musicians spreading the good word of DIY electronics. Beatrix*Jar spent over a decade leading hands-on Circuit Bending Workshops. Audio Playgrounds, Sound Collage Performances and Sound Art Workshops. The duo toured actively for many years, featured at venues such at the ICA Boston, Andy Warhol Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the Walker Art Center. Beatrix*Jar was awarded a Minnesota Composers Subito Grant (2008) and a Bush Fellowship in Media Arts (2010). The duo also appeared on the PBS program Make TV (2007) and the Twin Cities Public Television program MN Original (2010).


DJ Kool Akiem

DJ Kool Akiem is a renowned DJ, music producer and pioneer of the Twin Cities Hip-Hop community. He has toured nationally and internationally as DJ and producer for the Micranots, and as DJ for MF DOOM. He has shared stages with artists like Atmosphere, Public Enemy, The Roots and many more. Kool Akiem has his own radio show on WEQY FM.

Museum visitors will collaborate with DJ Kool Akiem to explore the art and science of DJing – scratching, mixing, beat-making with digital and analog sources, create record/cd art and more.

Gita Ghei*

Gita is a visual artist and educator whose mission is to create public art that celebrates diversity and the essential forces of nature.

Gita worked with kids to create a Rainbow Spinner, a solar-powered sculpture that celebrates light and the formation of rainbows and colors. Using aluminum and copper foil, each visitor created a distinct piece of art that represents their own unique super power. This artwork was added to the spinner, which was installed in the museum’s Tip Top Terrace. The spinner rotates on sunny days through solar energy. 

John Akre

John has more than 20 years of experience teaching animation and video classes to youth and adults.

John created a gigantic animation stand and collaborated with visitors to create fun and engaging stop-motion films. Kids made movements and used paper props, which John captured frame by frame. For the audio, John asked kids questions, captured sound effects and encouraged singing. Participants were immediately able to see the animation they created on a monitor. A final video was created and shared on MCM.org and our social media channels.

Aimee Bryant

Aimee is a professional actor, singer, songwriter, poet, dancer and choreographer. 

Visitors collaborated with each other and with Aimee to create original stories and then bring them to life through acting. Participants learned and put into practice acting and storytelling techniques, and played out storylines using costumes and props. 

Benjamin Domask

Benjamin is a performing artist who teaches and performs all over the world, but always comes back to Minnesota. He started his career performing at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and shortly after, served as lead juggling coach for Circus Juventas. He is one of the co-founders of the experimental theatre group Curiousita and has studied acting, dance, music and corporeal mime.

Benjamin engaged with visitors of all ages during his time at Minnesota Children’s Museum to share various techniques of juggling. Visitors juggled scarves, balanced peacock feathers on their palms and explored the art form of juggling, which encourages gross and fine motor skills, balance, rhythm and persistence.

Dana Sikkila*

Dana Sikkila is a local visual artist with experience leading youth arts workshops and creating intriguing multimedia art installation pieces.

Dana guided visitors through The Art of Nature, a series of workshops to introduce visitors to a wide variety of materials from nature, including sticks, clay, fibers and beeswax.  Each workshop produced a colorful, sensory, nature-inspired panel that will make up the main components of Dana’s mixed media installation in our Sprouts gallery for our youngest learners.

Lisa Arnold*

Lisa Arnold is a Minnesota artist with exceptional experience in creating delightful and surprising mosaics and conducting workshops for arts learners of every age. Her series was set up in three stages, design, create and construct.

The Design phase informed the overarching design for a community mosaic tile mural. Lisa conducted working sessions comprised of 1st and 5th grade children. Utilizing the concept of Creative Sparks, students explored their own personal creativity. For the Create phase, Lisa conducted more workshops using the images and ideas generated from the Design phase. In the Construct phase, she spent her time curating and finishing individual pieces created from the workshops. The finished mural was installed in our Studio gallery.

The teaching artists program was developed with support from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Hearst Foundation.

*This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Pin It on Pinterest