Browse the 2023 Exhibit

Be Part of Something Bigger, a Hero Collage (2023)

Voting is now closed! Thank you to everyone who voted. Congratulations to the winners and thank you all for your submissions!

*♪ denotes an artist who received an award

Category 1: Students (17 and under)

Katherine F.


Artist Bio
My name is Katherine. I am 9 years old and I attend Wayzata Greenwood Elementary. I am a 5-year piano student of Susan Sophocleus and a 1 1/2 year viola student with Richard Marshall. I have been learning rhythmic gymnastics for 4 years. I like reading, drawing and traveling.

Artist Statement
Everyone has their own definition of a hero. But I really like the quote by Gerard Way with a powerful message: heroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary. I hope this piece of art helps your think about who your heroes are and why. Your definition is powerful in your own way.

childs drawing of people of various professions
Julia K.


Artist Bio
I take piano lessons at MacPhail. I am 10 1/2 and I go to Lake Country School.

Artist Statement
I love making all kinds of artwork. I especially like drawing with pencil. My drawing is about how most of us think of a hero as the one person who can do everything. But anyone can go out and protest. If everyone went out and protested, It would make a big difference.

Evan P.

♪ Hero’s Fantasia

Artist Bio
I started my musical education with MacPhail at a very young age taking classes like Musical Trolley. Once I was old enough, I started taking piano lessons and attended some of the summer camps offered. In middle school, I added violin lessons to my musical journey. I lettered in the orchestra at my high school. My first formal class in composing was “Composing for Video Games Camp” at MacPhail. Since then I have been composing music in my spare time. I enjoy the creation process and the challenge of music composition.

Artist Statement
Hero’s Fantasia is inspired by the literary structure called the Hero’s Journey. This structure was first coined by Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. By using a variation on this structure, the composition creates a story in an order described here.

The beginning of many stories and myths. A home can mean many things depending on the person, however in this context, the hero lives on a quiet prairie with a small village without knowing about the world around them and letting time fly by. Then a call to adventure, the ruler gives out their orders to the soldiers that ride on galloping horse backs to keep the kingdom safe. Apparently, our hero does not want anything to do with adventures and even less with the soldiers that go by. Instead they choose to stay at their quiet abode, hoping for things to quiet down. In the middle of the night, the town bell tolls for the danger that has already destroyed buildings. People run in panic as a dragon attacks the village. The soldiers and hero tried their best to beat the dragon but all is lost and only our hero remains. A gift sent by the gods? Our hero trains with a new weapon, steadying their heart and preparing for the challenge ahead. Time passes but the dragon is back and the hero is ready with soldiers joining the fray to defeat the dragon once and for all. With the dragon defeated, the hero rebuilds what was lost in the original attack. Slowly people start to gather around him and a new village is founded. A new home built, everything feels just like before but now a little bit different. It feels complete, though more noisy than before.

Category 2: Adult Student or Amateur (18+)


A Hero Collage Submission

Laura D.

Artist Bio
I’m a 56-year old, mentally ill woman, low-income, living in an Assisted Living Facility since 1999. I was an award-winning landscape nature watercolor painter until I got the tremors in my hands, so I can’t paint anymore. Now, I channel my creative energy into acrylic bead jewelry—necklaces and bracelets (no rings or earrings). I am a self-taught acrylic bead jewelry entreprenuer who joined our Jewely-Making Group at Andrew in 2014. My designs have remained the same over time—repeated patten, bead series over and over again.

Artist Statement
My visual submission is a statement about my “Hero” My late Mom, God rest her soul, “Grandma Patsy.” She died in 2014 at the age of 70. She was my “light” and inspiration in the challenges of the Corona virus and beyond. I created my “voice” through nature watercolors and jewelry. My submission today is to MacPhail’s collage/mixed media is original select acrylic jewelry over matching watercolors prints. My creative energy is the following.

While she was alive, Mom helped me with marketing:
1. Watercolor paintings—the past–she helped me market my arts.
From approx. 1995-1998. Made color copies at Kinko’s—Gifted to dozens of family, staff, and friends): Award winning—Artability at Apollo, Star Tribune, Andrew Arts and Times, businesses. Since she passed, I can no longer make paintings, she inspired me to design necklaces and bracelets:

2. Jewelry making—God and my Mom inspired me to make beautiful pieces! The present.
From approx. 2014-2023. Joined the weekly Jewelry-Making Group! Created jewelry in my room., with production help from friends. Published at Andrew Talent Show

She was very fashionable and a stylish fashion plate. She wore nice clothing and jewelry every day! She called her stylish outfits “uniforms.” She inspired me to create artwork in the form of jewelry!

My art is a picture of watercolors with jewelry overlaid. My submission to the Hero Collage exhibit is a display is a collage of rainbow (ROYGBIV) over jewelry. ROYGBIV stands for the colors of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet)

Francisca J.


Artist Bio
It’s fascinating to me how our darkest moments can turn into the strongest life lessons that build our character. How the children-I’m embarrassed to even say- I resented, turned out to be blessings and my reason to becoming a more understanding person. They are my reason to continue pursuing an education despite the discouragement I struggle with. I believe the pure naiveness and curiosity of the children I took care of is what saved me from the torment I gave myself during my sophomore year. That was the year that the pandemic was affecting the whole world.

I used to hold pride in my understanding of academics. I developed a fixed mindset without knowing and it did not affect me until distance learning happened. My mom worked in the mornings during the time my sisters and I had our online classes. During this time, we were in charge of three kids ages four, one, and a 6 month child. We did not have the environment to only focus on our studies. As I am undocumented, I had to work with my parents in cleaning buildings to support our household. We were not paid well but it is normal as we do not have much of a choice.
I developed horrible habits and became a person I’m ashamed to say I was. When my mother told me she was pregnant yet again, I did not know I started to resent a baby who I has not even met yet.

When Yiseth was born, I could not help but cradle her and think about how close minded and selfish I’ve been. Each individual child has potential and their curiosity should be encouraged, so that they can continue this at ease by themselves when they’re older. Their laughs, tantrums, smiles, and tears should be free to be expressed. Seeing them do so makes me feel human, something that I have felt like I was missing.

Taking care of children can be difficult, but the struggle is beautiful. I can only see that now because of them.
Growth mindset is a process and although I’m not able to grasp academics easily, I am working hard for it and feeling proud when I achieve my personal goals. (not important to the story but I got a A minus for my last trimester in calculus!). These kids are chaotic but they are the best teachers I could have ever learned from.

Artist Statement
Music- I wrote a piece for a music theory class with this idea in mind. Specifically the understanding of responsibility I hold as a caregiver while sleeping my current baby sister Yiseth. Moments like these are my breathing moments. Times where I can think about my purpose and what I want and can become. It’s really sweet when I look back at her and see her sleeping in peace. No matter what I accomplish, I will never forget that I am humane.

My friend Sami is the amazing cellist who sight read my composition. The recording is from the actual performance we did for the class. Unfortunately my playing was out of tune at times aha. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it either ways!

Julie Schneider

♪ Where Miracles Happen

Artist Bio
I am a cello student of Jacqueline Ultan. I enjoy lap swimming, and hiking, biking, and camping with my husband. I look forward to writing and creative sewing during my recent retirement.

Artist Statement
Individuals who navigate life with hearing loss often feel isolated or disassociated from others and the world they live in. I know this because I’ve lived most of my life being hearing impaired. The story I share is one of determination and courage coupled with the compassion and skills of another by my side.
Sometimes we must fight for what has been lost or taken from us. Hope comes when others join our battle. Restored joy is the result.

As I sat in the balcony at Orchestra Hall with my five-year-old daughter one evening in 1998, it became apparent I was losing my ability to hear music. I was astounded that I saw the string section bowing in unison but I couldn’t hear anything! It was the beginning of a more significant hearing loss that increasingly separated me from the world around me, things that I once loved and appreciated, and the world of my loved ones too. The road of progressive hearing loss has been a long, unavoidable one. Over time I learned to get by using any means I could, just like so many others with similar disabilities. There have been many points in my life when I had to strive to stay in the hearing world for the sake of my family, plus many more times when I had to fake it. The loss of the ability to enjoy music and other things I loved instilled a fighting spirit within my soul. Stepping out with courage and finding support I needed was a key to helping me regain some of what I’ve lost. My naked ear cannot hear a sound. But if I put together determination, will, technology, and add a hero to encourage and enable . . . in my case it was Jacqueline, my cello teacher. Together we achieved the restoration of something meaningful that was lost, which is nothing short of a miracle. I have reached other dreams using the same formula.
I encourage people with unique needs to step out with a fighting spirit, and then for heroes to step in. That way the world is a better place for us all–a place where miracles happen.

Category 3: Professional or MacPhail Faculty

Greg Connor

Knocking at Your Door

Artist Bio
I am a Minnesota based songwriter and a member of the Minnesota Association of Songwriters. I write mostly Folk / Americana style music with a hint of Country and Blues.

Artist Statement
I noticed your call for submissions to support the Hero Collage and wrote this song honoring the creative process that got us all through the last few years. It’s a nod to innovation, creative problem solving and the constant effort to invent the world that we want to live in.

Just below the consciousness, There waits a new idea
Something never thought about and never was revealed
It’s almost like a stranger that comes knocking at your door
And shares the gift of something new that no one’s seen before

When you hear that stranger knocking, try not to disregard
Open up, let him, It isn’t very hard
You just might find a simple thing you almost can’t believe
That no one’s ever realized and now has been conceived

When you hear that stranger knocking open up the door
Invite those new ideas in and brace yourself for more
You never know what’s coming till you finally comprehend
And you see that stranger knocking with something new again
That Stranger’s knocking, knocking at your door

It’s a world of new invention changing every single day
We just keep evolving and live our lives that way.
When you hear that stranger knocking try to understand
Recognize with open arms the gift held in his hand

Carissa Jean Tobin

♪ Nighttime Vigil

Artist Bio
Carissa Jean Tobin is a Minneapolis-based writer who has been published in The Talking Stick, Minnesota Parent, and The Journal. When she’s not writing, you can find her teaching elementary school or dancing to Frozen II with her daughter. She chronicles her adventures in life, parenting, and lost items at

Artist Statement
My piece speaks to the heroes that teachers and parents are to today’s children. Kids are growing up in an unstable world, from the threats of violence at school, the changing climate, and police brutality. Our kids have faced so much upheaval in their lives during the pandemic years. In order to grow up brave and whole, they need adults who care about them and protect them while simultaneously showing them how hopeful and fearless they can be.

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