“Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and the eye through the mind. As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.”

John Lubbock (1834-1913)

Politician, Philanthropist & Scientist, “The Pleasures of Life”

At Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) we believe that art is for everyone. Regardless of race, gender, age, ability, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or economic circumstances everyone deserves access to arts education and experiences. Now thanks to the City of Winona Creative Laureate, Sarah Johnson a door on our bricks and mortar home, the Valencia Arts Center has a splash of color and reminds those passing by that “Art is for Everyone”. This public art project is part of the #Winonacolorproject intended to create more vibrant, welcoming spaces in the Winona community. This project was made possible by the Winona Fine Arts Commission and the Winona Community Foundation 

About Creative Laureate, Sarah Johnson

Sarah Johnson was appointed Winona’s first Creative Laureate with a term beginning January 1, 2020. Sarah has lived in Winona nearly 20 years, and has been an active leader in lifting up creativity. Early on she founded and ran the Battle of the Bands for its first five years at Winona Senior High School. She has also had Artist Residencies at WSHS and the Alternative Learning Center and was an organizer in early Handmade Neighborhood annual art sales. She has been an artist in Art Battles and in Chalk On! Earth Day events, and has worked with elementary-age youth as a part of Family Art Day.

She has worked with teens on murals at the Bluff Country Coop and has painted Winona history murals in the bathroom of Ed’s (No Name). Sarah has created 3D pieces for Midwest Music Fest and backdrops for music shows at Ed’s and the Winona Athletic Club. Her band The Old Fashioneds has played for and interacted with students of Riverway Learning Community. A typical Old Fashioneds show involves some sort of audience engagement beyond dancing, such as coloring sheets or paint-by-number banners created by Sarah. More recent creative activities include booking and hosting live music as a part of a winter Really Livin’ Living Room Series which takes place in her home.

She offers regular workshops on mindfulness and creativity at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, where she also often help lead or create art for Second Saturday activities. Her most recent creative endeavor was a Third Space funded public art installation, Full Blooms mural on 3rd and Lafayette. For this project she painted during the week and invited Winonans to engage during the process. That project “completely solidified my desire to be an even stronger creative leader in our community.” Follow Sarah on social media with the #imalifeliver.