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Dana Sikkila: Bringing Minnesota Artists Together

Dana Sikkila, the fearless Director of the 410 Project and 2015 YWCA Young Woman of Distinction, is grabbing her bike and hitting the road for 9 days. She is touring Minnesota with her camera crew to connect with local artists, and to learn about what motivates them to create their art. Throughout her project she will be collecting two pieces from each of the artists that she encounters and displaying them in an exhibit at the 410 when she returns. True Façade pictures will be joining her to record her journey and help show what it is like to be an artist in Minnesota. She will be traversing through rural communities and bigger cities to bring people together through art. She graciously took the time to answer a few of my questions.

HC: What made you want to do this project? 

DS: My passions are Art, biking, and community and I wanted to create a project that highlighted all of these things.  As the director of the 410 Project I’m always trying to create projects that bring out the importance of community within the space. Also, to show that one person can create a really big impact.  This project also is meant to bring together artists from all over MN and showcase what their differences are but what glues them all together is they’re all makers living in southern and central MN and that they’re all passionate about what they do no matter their age, background, or experience. 

With the increase of social media and online presences we’ve lost the true connection between the art galleries and the artists. With everything done online and through the mail we don’t get a true understanding of who these artists are and why they make their work.  

 

HC: Why a bike? Is it another way of rebelling against the digital age?

DS: There is nothing more down and dirty than getting on your bike and putting the pedal to the ground. Without self-motivation, energy, and passion you can’t make a bike go. It’s the same with being an artist. Also, arts and bikes organizations have similar cultures nowadays. Trying to make our world better in some way. Also transporting myself and the art by bike truly shows the dedication to the project and the artist verses in a car. It shows I’m mentally and physically dedicated to my art space, the artists, and the arts in MN. Without me getting up in the morning and getting on my bike the project will not get done. Even if I’m tired and sore I still need to push forward. It’s not just about me, but about the bigger picture.

HC: I hear your name associated with the 410 a lot, do you own it?

DS: I have currently been the Executive Director of the 410 Project since 2012. Since I’ve taken over we’ve expanded our community outreach, programing, and exhibits. 

The 410 Project is a 13 year old gallery in downtown Mankato. You may recognize it by the sign that states “This is not the image of a horse now it is” The gallery was recently renovated with a gorgeous mural on the outside to showcase some of Mankato’s artists’ talents. As a place that already brings the community together, Sikkila is going one step further by bringing the entire state together.

With long distance mountain biking experience under her belt, Dana will be biking 500 miles to meet 10 artists. The exhibit will help bring exposure Minnesota artists and will be on display in October, 2016.

 To support the 410 Project donate here: paypal.me/410project, visit the gallery at 532 South Front St, and keep an eye out for the exact date of the exhibit in October.

 

 

My name is Sam and I was the Senior Editor for Her Campus MNSU from 2016-2017! I have a degree in English Studies with an emphasis in Technical Communications. My goal as editor was to help my writers keep their voice in their writing and not be afraid to write about what matters to them. If you come across my writing, it will contain excessive sarcasm, terrible puns, feminist thoughts, and lots of opinions.
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