Community Corner: Maggie Thompson

Maggie Thompson, Gallery Program Manager, Two Rivers Gallery

Maggie is… an artist and the Gallery Program Manager for the Two Rivers Gallery, which re-opened in the American Indian Center in May 2015. She was born and grew up in Minneapolis. Her current work will be exhibited at the Textile Center during the summer of 2016.

When I was growing up…. I spent my entire time making, whether it was a fort in the woods, a snow jump for sledding, or painting a picture of my cat alongside my mom. I also loved being outdoors running around with my friends and golfing with my Dad.

My favorite memory of Franklin Ave was… the first time I returned, after going to school, to see the exhibit Ded Unk’pi? at All My Relations Arts Gallery. It was my first time exhibiting my work outside of school and it was great to be showing in my own community. I was also a part of Healthy Nations when I was little and am still to this day very close with my mentor Ardie Medina, who is now like second mom to me.

Success means… the ability to have long lasting relationships, to be able learn from your mistakes, to not be discouraged with failure, to be honest with yourself and others, fight for your truths, and at the end of the day to be able to surround yourself with family and friends.

The person I admire the most is… my mom. She is the strongest woman I know, my greatest teacher and closest friend. She has taught me what is important in this lifetime, such as building honest long lasting relationships and being honest with yourself. She taught me to go after my dreams with full force. She taught me the importance of rest and self care. My mom is a fighter and a protector, fierce in all her love.

Art is… my way to express the thoughts and feelings that I have a hard time talking about. I try and push I really focus on simple concepts with the hopes that my work will be easy to understand and to relate to. I try to be honest and straightforward in my work addressing issues of Native appropriation and authenticity, along with my personal relationships.

Even though much of my subject matter relates to heavy issues I try to incorporate moments of humor in order to create a balance. I use textiles as a way to contain memory, reflect and tell a difficult story in order to rebuild my textured past and to learn the history of my people through making. I explore materials in my work by incorporating multimedia elements such as screen-printing, photographs, metallic yarn, bottle caps and 3D printed objects. My current work is about my personal grief and anxiety with the loss of my Dad.

Two Rivers Gallery is… an exhibition space for emerging native artists. It is an active space for the community to build relationships and to collaborate, strengthening Native art and artistic voices. Its focus is nurturing artists in the early stages of their artistic careers. It is also meant to be a space for all types of art (dance, music, poetry, painting, etc.).

I have a weakness for… coffee, cheese and bacon. It runs in the family.

Being a Native women means… you have strength and compassion, integrity, fighting for your goals and what you believe in.

My dream is… to be able to do art full time and to travel the world teaching and working with other communities.

My favorite thing about my community… are the stories, relationships, everyone’s involvement and courage.

If I could travel anywhere I would go to… Ireland with my mom to learn about the other side of my family. I also just want to travel everywhere, I feel like travel is important for the soul and gaining perspective.




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