MCAD Annual Auction Celebrates 10th Year


MCAD, or the Minneapolis College of Art & Design, will host its tenth annual auction on May 19, 2023. Each year, MCAD gathers donated artwork from visiting artists as well as local professionals to contribute to the scholarship foundation.


The auction sells the donated artwork to raise funds for their scholarship pool. Around 97% of MCAD students receive aid, according to Annie Gillette Cleveland, the Vice President of Communications and Marketing Strategy at MCAD.

Guests that attend the auction peruse the art and select items from paintings, photographs, ceramics, and sculptures to add to their home art collection. Attendees know that each dollar spent goes toward helping an aspiring artist receive a college education and a promising future. Since so many students lean on financial aid to attend MCAD, the event is a necessity to keep the classrooms accessible and thriving.

“People from underrepresented and oppressed communities who would normally be trapped in them due to systemic racism and classism can experience a place where their creativity, their trauma, and their stories are listened to and valued. They in turn give back to the art community and the community in general what they have learned: that art is a conduit for communication and critical thinking. It should be for everyone. It generates tools for life,” MCAD alum and artist, Cl Martin, told Lavender Magazine.

Working Artist: Cl Martin

Cl Martin is a Minnesota-based artist who graduated from MCAD in 2005 with a BFA in painting. The institution invited her back to assist with this year’s fundraiser. According to Martin, she jumped at the opportunity to come back to her alma mater to support the scholarship efforts.

“I’m an artist. A working artist. I’ve been a working artist since right after I graduated from MCAD. I’ve always been drawing since I can remember,” Martin said. “It’s incorporated into my identity. Turning emotion into some kind of visual representation helps me process trauma, stress and interpret the world as well as my place in it.”

The ability to help with the auction serves as a full circle moment for Martin.

In addition to helping with the upcoming auction, Martin received a prestigious grant to further her artistic process. The MN State Arts Board and the National Endowment for The Arts awarded her The Artist Initiative Grant.

“That was the first time I had written an organization with the intention of creating a body of work and then presenting it. Having gotten the grant meant that I communicated successfully and that other people believed in my ideas. This helped my confidence tremendously as an artist just starting out. This kind of process – writing grant proposals, putting words to your ideas, being skilled at communicating and telling a story, and asking people to fund it can be a lot of what a working artist does,” she said.

Cl Martin also displays renowned artwork in international exhibits and private showings in London, Italy, Ireland, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Los Angeles, and New York.

Photo of painting El by CL Martin

Advice to Artists

Cl Martin offered some advice to aspiring artists and those thinking about pursuing an artistic degree. “Most artists don’t make enough money to pursue their work full-time. I certainly don’t and likely never will and that’s OK. It is incredibly rare. Time might be more precious but in a way, it’s liberating because constraints enable creativity to thrive. One can also price their work lower if one isn’t relying solely on art sales and grants for income. That way, the art is more accessible and affordable to more people,” Martin stated.

Upcoming Shows

This year, the auction occurs at MCAD Main Gallery, 2501 Stevens Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404 on May 19 with a VIP Preview Reception starting at 6:00 p.m. and the auction beginning at 7:00–9:30 p.m.  

Tickets to the event start at $150 and all earnings fuel the MCAD Scholarship Fund. Artwork ranges from $480 to $9,600.  

Martin also shared her upcoming show on May 25 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. with artist Aidan Dillon at the Paul Whitney Larson Art Gallery called “Infrastructure of Identity”  

For more information and tickets to the auction, visit
For more information on Cl Martin visit  

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