In an area nestled between the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Institute of Art, the latest marquee art show has popped up in a more unexpected venue: SK Coffee. Their first show, featuring a collection of art they curated from Whittier Community School, closes tonight.
In the show’s first week, six pieces had been sold, including one by a community member outside of the school.
Stacie McCormack, Whittier School’s art teacher, collaborated with SK Coffee on the art show. Stacie emailed SK Coffee, after she saw the giant empty wall at the coffee shop.
Sam Kjellberg, co-owner of SK Coffee said the collaboration was "kind of serendipitous" because they were trying to find ways to connect with local artists.
“Literally the perfect first art show for the space," Kjellberg said. Kjellberg handed each student a certificate at the show for being a participant.
McCormack walked around with SK Coffee baristas as they chose pieces that spoke to them throughout the halls of the school. Through that process, a random collection of students were highlighted which gave many different students a moment to shine.
Most of the students at Whittier Community Schools qualify for free or reduced priced lunch and there is a large refugee population at the school.
"Around 27 or 28 languages are spoken in our schools," McCormack said. Some students she works with don’t speak much English.
“Art transcends language barriers," McCormack said.
McCormack said her students showed a sense of pride in seeing their work displayed in the community.
Herbie Gadea-Daub, a student in the art show, said the evening was “so special” it was “hard to put into words.”
Herbie’s mom, Mary, said the art show has brought the community together.
"It made me look at these students in a totally different light," Mary said, after the art show opening. "It was super moving."
The art show closes June 8, but McCormack hopes Whittier art students will have their art up at SK Coffee again.
“Fingers crossed it’s a yearly event here,” McCormack said.