Friends Lecture: Seitu Jones

March 10, 2022 11:00 am

THIS EVENT HAS PASSED

Pillsbury Auditorium

Ticket Price: Free

Seitu Jones is a multi-disciplinary artist, and community organizer, known for his large-scale public artworks, and environmental designs.  He works both independently and in collaboration with other artists, and has created over 40 large-scale public works. He has created sets for multiple Twin Cities theaters. His art has been exhibited at Mia, the Walker Art Center, the American Folk Art museum in New York, and the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC. 

Seitu was born in Minneapolis in 1951 and has degrees in environmental history and landscape design.  He is retired from the faculty of the Interdisciplinary Arts MFA program at Goddard College in Port Townsend, WA.

He is a 4th generation Minnesotan. His great grandfather, who was born into slavery, relocated to Minnesota in the 1870s, first settling in Red Wing, and then Rochester.  His grandparents lived in the Rondo area of St. Paul.

His father, aunts, and uncles were all creatives, and inspired Seitu.

Seitu finds inspiration in so many places. He uses the spirit of improvisation in his work, which is in the sphere of African and Afro-Atlantic traditions. Much of his art centers around placemaking, creating, and manipulating space, while working with the community to change and transform, temporarily, a space to create a sense of place. He is also influenced by music, and always wanted to be a musician. When he won a Sally Award he bought a bass violin, and took lessons at the Walker West Music Academy.

He digs deep into the role that plants play in our environment, and spends time hanging out with plants and nature. Another big part of his work is passing on information, knowledge, and culture to new artists coming up behind him. He is influenced by the Black Arts Movement, and its belief that artists have an obligation to leave their community “more beautiful than they found it”.

In 2013 he received a Joyce Award from the Joyce Foundation in Chicago, which allowed him to develop “Create”, a dinner for 2,000 people at a table one half mile long, that in part was organized to show Frogtown residents how the food system works.

In addition to all of the above, he has collaborated on a number of projects, with his wife, Soyini Guytonand with fellow St. Paul artist, Ta-coumba Aiken for the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Last but not least; Jones received the McKnight Distinguished Arts Award in 2017, which honors a Minnesota artist who has made a significant contribution to the states’ cultural life.  With his designs, his artistic vision has become an indelible part of Minnesota’s cultural landscape, according to Kate Wolford, president of the McKnight Foundation.

Seitu Jones has demonstrated what’s possible, when an artist with a hopeful vision and a generous spirit sets down deep roots in his community!

We look forward to seeing you all at his talk the next Friends lecture March 10th in Pillsbury auditorium at Mia at 11am.
You are in for a TREAT!
Get Tickets