Celebrating the NPS Centennial Through Art

Alora K. Jones, Marketing & Communications Associate, Mississippi Park Connection

We at the connection have always held a deep appreciation for artists and the ways in which their work brings our national parks to life. Art has always been a part of the National Park Service story, from Ansel Adams to the Project Art for Nature (PAN) collaborative, artists have always played a crucial role in telling the story of America’s Best Idea.

Over the course of this summer, we have been so incredibly fortunate to see so many local artists working to capture the grandeur of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area - and we encourage all of you to get out and experience your park from an artist’s perspective!

America’s River
An exhibition of paintings by Pennsylvania artist Thomas Paquette, America’s River is a collection of stunning oil and gouache paintings that celebrate one of nation’s greatest treasures: the Mississippi River.

Photo credit: Groveland Gallery

Thomas Paquette is a longtime visitor and lover of national parks throughout the country, and created these paintings to celebrate the Centennial of the National Park Service and the national park that runs through our Twin Cities. Check out this exhibit at the Groveland Gallery through August 13.

Project Art for Nature
A collaborative of about 25 local artists and illustrators, PAN chooses individual natural areas in Minnesota and Wisconsin to focus on capturing. Participating artists visit the sites regularly over a three-year cycle, resulting in creative responses to seasonal and cumulative changes in the landscape.

Photo credit: Project Art for Nature (PAN) 

In “Tributaries of Earth and Water: An Exhibition Celebrating Our National Parks,” PAN features about 50 pieces celebrating our waterways, forests and prairies. See this exhibit at the AZ Gallery through September 18 – a portion of sales will benefit Mississippi Park Connection!

Seeing Nature
A joint effort between Mississippi Park Connection and Mia, Seeing Nature is part exhibition and part guerilla art! To celebrate the new exhibit at Mia “Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection,” 19 museum-style frames have been placed throughout the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.

Photo credit: @rachel_six12 

Find all 19 frames using this map, and share your masterpieces on Instagram with us using #parkconnection and #seeingnature. Then head down to Mia to see the exhibition – now through September 18!

Third Thursday

As part of the Seeing Nature project – Mia has invited us to help host their Third Thursday event in August.

Photo credit: Mia 

Come down to the Minneapolis Institute of Art on August 18 where you can see the Seeing Nature exhibit for free, try your hand at painting en plein air, strike a post in the photobooth, and enjoy live music from Ben Lubeck of Farewell Milwaukee!

River City Revue

Photo credit: Jeremy Messersmith 

A series of on-river social events each summer, River City Revue aims to connect people to the Mississippi River through live music, storytelling, history, and art.

While visual artists seem to get most of the recognition for telling the story of national parks, we’re very excited to be working with local musician Jeremy Messersmith and spoken-word artists from Word Sprout to put on this program.

Each revue brings to life a different theme, presenting diverse perspectives on our Great River. Join us on September 8 and discover your river! 

No matter what your favorite medium is, there’s an opportunity out there for you to ring in the National Park Service Centennial with local artists who love this park as much as you do! Celebrate the natural magnificence of the national park in our backyard, and the wonderful artists who work to capture this beauty for the enjoyment of everyone.