“Selfhood” allows The 410 Project artists to express themselves

The city of Mankato offers a variety of things to do, see, and experience. One of these spaces includes the 410 Project, a volunteer-based community art gallery that was opened by three Minnesota State University, Mankato students in 2003. 

Currently, the 410 Project is hosting an exhibit titled “Selfhood”, which is curated by Minnesota-based artist Dana Sikkila. 

“Selfhood is defined as the quality that constitutes one’s individuality. The state of having an individual identity,” said Sikkila. “We wanted to host and curate an exhibition that allowed Minnesota-based female, femme, trans, and non-binary artists to come into the space and create work that speak about how they persevere in their own identity.” 

“Selfhood” brings LGBTQ+ artists and allies in to create works in a shared space. Each artist is encouraged to share their experiences of growth, trauma, and identity.

“With the works being large-scale and permanent in a sense, we hope viewers can understand the weight these experiences can have on our lives,” Sikkila added.

The artist also noted how the timing of the exhibit was intentional, with South Central Minnesota Pride coming up in early September.

The exhibit features the artwork of different artists using all artwork mediums to truly capture the different experience each person has.

“One of the goals of this exhibition is to give artists a chance to create something on a larger scale that they wouldn’t be able to do when working in their studios. To take over the gallery walls and just focus on the artwork and not the surface they hang on,” Sikkila stated.

When the exhibition is complete the works will be painted over or removed. 

“Over the years we’ve had artists create work directly on the walls and it eventually gets layered over. At the end, these murals will be added to the history of art that sits under the wall paint,” Sikkila said. 

The works will remain a part of the space long after the ending of the exhibit, even if they are unseen. 

MNSU junior Becca Stark noted she heard about “Selfhood” from friends in art classes. “I’m excited to go to the exhibit because it looks interesting,” Stark noted. 

Jonathan Mor stated similarly, “I’ve heard good things about it, but I have not attended yet.”

One of Sikkila’s hopes for this exhibit is to create new energy for the space after attendance and for future shows. 

“Even with having shows this last year, this exhibit, I feel, is igniting the walls again to what they once were before the pandemic. We hope this energy continues into the following year bringing new voices to the space,” Sikkila stated.

The “Selfhood” exhibit is open at The 410 Project from Aug. 27 through Sept. 11 with gallery hours open Wednesday through Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. 

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