Inspired installations

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey Madison Vick, left, and Jesus Santiago III, right, are two of about 10 students who began setting up their installations Monday for an exhibit at The Grand. Both are from the University of Minnesota, Mankato.

NEW ULM — Installation art students are returning to The Grand to set the scene Friday with nearly a dozen different displays.

Titled “Mise-en-scène: New Site-Specific Work by MSU Installation Students,” the show runs from March 16 to April 13. An opening reception begins at 7 p.m. Friday at The Grand.

“There is going to be a range of works, but I think they all deal with that idea, to some degree or another, of creating an immersive environment and a work that is made for a specific space,” professor Liz Miller said.

The exhibit has become almost an annual tradition for Miller’s installation art class. She brings intermediate and advanced students to display in two venues each year, including The Grand.

Because the work is specific to each space they display, the students visited to preview their areas. Then they made the components of their work at school and are spending the week installing them.

The show goes beyond the normal 4 Pillar Art Gallery. Installations will be spread out between the large spaces and individual studios on the second and third floors.

Mise-en-scène is a French word that means the arrangement of visual elements of setting and scenery in a play.

“It is almost a theatrical term, I think, but it speaks to the idea of creating something for a specific environment or to invoke a certain mood,” Miller said.

The advanced nature of the class means each student is able to create their work independently.

Installations contain elements including broken CDs, giant styrofoam letters and what appear to be different sized and textured couch cushions.

“One of the things that (students) have to think about is how the work relates specifically to the site,” Miller said. “Does it forge a unique relationship with the gallery or the space that it is in and how does it change the audience’s experience of that architecture or of that space?”

Visitors can view the show during normal gallery house. Tuesday — Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m. — 3 p.m.

Connor Cummiskey can be emailed at


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