Matt Wagner:
Animals of the Driftless

Dates: April 3 - May 27, 2022
228 East 5th Street / Winona, Minnesota

Opening Reception: Sunday / April 3 / 2:00-4:00pm
with Gallery Talk & Printing Demonstration at 3pm

Gallery Hours: Wednesdays from 3-6pm / Sundays from 1-4pm


The Winona Arts Center is pleased to present Animals of the Driftless, an exhibit of relief prints by Matt Wagner. The exhibit contains twelve black and white relief prints showcasing different animals of the driftless region. Ranging between common to rare, each animal/organism was selected for its importance to the ecology of our beautiful and unique region. Animals were selected with the consultation of local environmentalists and prairie enthusiasts, with a special thanks to Gabe Ericksen for his contributions.

The topic of animal relief cuts came to Wagner after the birth of his son in the spring of 2020. After reading a lot of board books, he found that animals were a common theme for children's books but didn’t see as many focused on local animals. Researching “animals of the driftless region” quickly showed a void of local children’s picture books and artwork on the subject matter. This led to the application and award of an emerging artist SEMAC grant in the summer of 2021. After many months of drawing, carving, and printing, Wagner is pleased to offer the Animals of the Driftless exhibit.

According to Wagner, printmaking provides the opportunity to dedicate time to intricate details while carving, with the reward of creating editions and sharing work with others beyond a singular piece. Relief printing also demands that the carver work in only positive and negative space.

Wagner is a visual arts teacher and currently teaches at Winona Area Learning Center, part of Winona Area Public Schools. He is a 2008 graduate of Winona Senior High and has a BA in art education and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership both from Winona State University. Wagner’s teaching philosophy focuses on letting students explore as many art materials as possible, with the hope that after graduating they continue making and enjoying artwork. As a curious and life-long learner himself, he encourages students to continue making art beyond high school because it can require no degree or specialized training, only practice.

Please review our Covid-19 Protocol before planning your visit to the Winona Arts Center. We appreciate your understanding.

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The Animals of the Driftless exhibit is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund.